Visual Structure Planning: Story Maps
Do the phrases “Story Structure” and “Character Arc” send adrenaline thrumming through your veins, or cause your stomach to drop in free-fall? Either way, it doesn’t matter! Story Maps is a structure-loving writer’s dream AND the answer to a struggling writer’s planning woes.
Most writers would agree that applying structure, either intuitively or through deliberate planning, results in a more powerful story. The problem is there are many types of structure models, and not all look at both inner character development (character arc) as well as the outer story events. Story Maps does both, and so we hope this will make things a bit easier, helping writers visualize as they plan so they know exactly where to go next in their story.
Adapted from the amazing Hollywood story expert Michael Hauge’s 6-Stage Plot Structure, we lead you through important turning points, providing guidance on outer events and inner character transformation.
The Story Map covers three character arc types: the Change Arc (inner transformation), the Static Arc (action-focus, little growth) and the Failed Arc (a tragedy ending). As you can see below, at each Stage or Turning Point, you can access helpful plotting hints as you plan, and see an example of A Few Good Men broken down by structure points.
Once you finish filling in the structure pieces, you can transform your plan into a Map, or download it as a PDF. What could be easier?
Did I mention there’s a 2-Week Free Trial?
If you would like to test Story Maps for yourself, stop by and activate the trial.
Or take a tour of the site first! You’ll find our walkthrough below. Happy writing!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Judy Levine says
I have your 3 Thesauri. I am also trying to change from a pantser to and an outliner, structure writer, and I am finding your website and pins very, very, very, very, helpful. (Sorry, I know VERY is a no-no in good writing and so is repeating it.) I am excited, and your story arc material in particular will help with my protagonist (female) and second primary character (male). I’m trying to do the very best novel I’m capable of and see it as Literary and also a romance. Doesn’t matter if it takes a long time. Doesn’t matter (now) if I can sell it.
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Excitement is always a good thing, and I love the passion that comes through your comment. It sounds like you are on the exact right path, and I’m so glad that our material will help you get this story down. Becca and I are wishing you all the best!
Rosemary Gemmell says
Even though I’m a pantster, the story maps sound brilliant. I often think I should give more time to structure! All the best with the new Thesaurus books.
BECCA PUGLISI says
Thanks, Rosemary! As a hardcore planner, I’m a little biased, but I’ve always thought that some level of planning can be helpful for everyone. The tool we have now is awesome, but it might be more than many pantsers want. The good news? In the near future, we’ll be adding some modified structure tools that offer a lot of flexibility in how much planning a writer might want to do. We’re thinking these might be really helpful for pantsers out there :).
Killion Slade says
YES! Can’t wait for the new books. So excited to get my hands on them. No hard sell here. Takes My Money! LOL Worth every cent … Xinfinity!
Thanks for staying AWESOME! 😀
Miranda A. Uyeh says
Thank you for this lovely post, Becca! It’s truly helpful!
Carol Baldwin says
All good, all good!!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Glad you think so Carol! We’re very excited to expand the library. 🙂
Davonne Burns says
I have a feeling you guys might have planned this to come out before CampNaNO, if not then you have spectacular timing. I cannot wait to try this out with my current WIP which is currently in planning stages as I get ready for April. Thank you for always having our backs and providing some fantastic resources!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Haha, believe it or not, it’s just happenstance! I am so excited you’ll be able to put this to work right away though! Good luck in Camp Nano!