Seven Elements of Story Structure

Seven Elements of Story StructureAnother way to think about plot is Joe Nassise’s Seven Elements of Story Structure. Last seen at [2022’s] Plot Forest Summit, best selling author and coach Nasisse has his version hooked up like an express train.

The Magnificent Seven

His seven elements of story structure are:

Four phases:

  • Preparation
  • Reactive
  • Proactive
  • Conclusion

These are linked by three game-changing moments.

In practice

Preparation introduces the Main Character and the story central problem or question

Game Changer 1 is an event forcing the Main Character out of their everyday life

The Reactive phase sees the Main Character react to Game Changer 1 in an emotional manner. They usually struggle to respond.

In Game Changer 2, the Main Character learns something that drives focus on the story problem.

In the Proactive phase powered by Game Changer 2, the Main Character goes on the offensive, actively working to solve their problem. They go through the Try-Fail Cycle multiple times, with the stakes escalating at each failure.

In Game Changer 3, the Main Character finds the final piece of the puzzle, and takes the battle to the antagonist.

For the Conclusion phase, the Main Character makes an all-or-nothing attempt to defeat the antagonist and/or solve the story problem.

This isn’t the only seven-point structure for fiction, but it is simple and efficient. You can see the bones of a four-act structure in here, with the Game Changers as catalysts to propel the story from one to the next.