Story Structure: Freaky Fridays with Michelle Roth @mroth_author

Strict Black Leather Locking Hand Cuffs on white background

WOOT!  You’re back! That’s just awesome. So, this week, rather than waxing poetic and getting all philosophical on you, I thought I’d talk a little bit about story structure. When we but wee lassies (or lads), I’m sure someone went over this. For those of you (like yours truly *WINKY FACE*) who haven’t been little in quite some time, here’s a quick refresher.

All stories must have:

A beginning – this is likely when your characters meet, the story opens, etc.

A middle –  this is when the characters start to see potential problems crop up

A climax – hehe, I said climax. This is where whatever problem you’ve invented comes to fruition

An end – this is when said problem is resolved, thereby giving us a HEA or a HFN

Protagonist(s) – the hero and/or heroine of the story

Antagonist(s) – the villain(s) of the piece

An internal conflict – something emotional that the hero/heroine(s) must overcome

An external conflict – something that the hero/heroine(s) must overcome outside of their own emotional baggage

I promise I’m not making this stuff up. It’s universally agreed upon by mostly anyone who writes. Swearsies 😉


Now that we’ve got all these pieces, how the hell do we put that together into a working story? I’m so glad you asked!

According to a class I took recently with Candy Havens, here’s a damn good road map to work from!

  1. Slice of Life  – This is the moment in time when the characters don’t necessarily know each other yet. They’re functioning beings, completely independent of one another. This should be outside the scope of your romance.
  2. Meet Cute – The moment (and this should happen early on) when the characters meet or are reintroduced. They don’t need to LIKE each other, but the meeting must be memorable and draw the reader in. Embarrassment, annoyance, hot hot lust. It needs to elicit a definite response of some kind.
  3. Flaws Set – Foreshadowing the things that will drive the characters apart. He’s a commitment phobe because he’s been hurt by his ex. She’s dealing with issues from an abusive ex. Something emotional that the characters will have to overcome to find happiness. It’s a good time to foreshadow your external conflict, too.
  4. Fun and Games – They’re not thinking about the flaws, the reasons they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing at this point. This is about the time they should start *cues 70’s porno music*
  5. Midpoint – Think of this as the calm before the storm. Let the characters grow comfortable with one another. This is the time when they can enjoy the world you’ve created for them… because you’re about to tear that shit apart.
  6. Bad Guys Closing In – Remember those flaws? They’re rearing their ugly head at this point. He’s looking at her and seeing his future… and he’s ready to make a break for it. They’ve argued and his intensity reminds her of her ex.
  7. All is Lost – The internal and external conflicts have come to a head, here. Someone, or perhaps both of them, has really, really fucked something up.
  8. Dark Night of the Soul – The moment when the hero(ine) has realized just how epic their mistake was. The gravity of the situation is clear, and they feel as though there’s no possible way that they can recover.
  9. HEA/HFN – A grand gesture, resolution, or some other driving force that erases said dark night and provides a happily ever after.

Hope this helps you like it did me!  Next week I’ll be talking about character development and sharing the database I use to help me keep track of names, villains, jobs, etc. Hope to see you there. :*



This entry was posted in Freaky Friday, Michelle Roth, Uncategorized, Writing Advice and tagged , , , by Michelle Roth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michelle Roth

Michelle Roth is a novelist from the Great White North (Toronto, ON). When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book. In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Her books are currently available on

12 thoughts on “Story Structure: Freaky Fridays with Michelle Roth @mroth_author

  1. Pingback: Goals, Motivation, Conflict: Freaky Friday with Michelle Roth @mroth_author | Naughty Quills

  2. Pingback: Edits: Freaky Friday with Michelle Roth @mroth_author | Naughty Quills

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