7-Point Plot Structure – Plot Theory

If you’ve ever read a Dan Wells novel, you’ll know that guy is a genius at story. He’s so good, in fact, that he’s got his very own story structure, the 7-Point Plot Structure, and today we’re going to go into what it looks like. There are three different elements to this, and this is an outlining system Dan uses in which the story moves forward along seven sequential points.

In Story Order, these points are:

  • Hook
  • Plot Turn I
  • Pinch I
  • Midpoint
  • Pinch II
  • Plot Turn II
  • Resolution

While these are (obviously) not the only things that happen in your book, these are the key things that are working together to move you from hook to resolution. So lets take a look at how this works, and then we’ll go into this a bit further.

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Hook

The hook is where we see the hero in opposite state to their end state. This establishes what’s going on and to set up who the main character is.

Plot Turn I

The first plot turn introduces the main conflict in the form of the hero’s world changing, or the call to adventure. It can also look like new ideas being introduced, new people, new secrets.

Pinch I

The first pinch point applies pressure to the main character. Something goes wrong, the bad guys attack, peace is destroyed. This pinch point forces the hero into action, and begins to introduce the main antagonist.

Midpoint

The midpoint shows a big movement from one state to the other. This is a huge shift in the reactionary character to the active character. The characters are sick of running and they decide they are just going to solve the problem.

Pinch II

Apply more pressure until the situation seems hopeless. Much like the first pinch point, you want to have all the plans fail, see the death of a mentor, feel like the antagonist’s side is winning.  Make it as dire as possible.

Plot Turn II

This plot piece moves the story from midpoint toward the end. The hero snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. This is where the character realizes how to defeat the antagonist, finds the last piece to the mystery.

Resolution

The hero is shown following through on their decision from the midpoint. They are in the opposing state to where they were during the hook.

 

When plotting these points out, Dan recommends working out of order.

  • Resolution
  • Hook
  • Midpoint
  • Plot Turn I
  • Plot Turn II
  • Pinch I
  • Pinch II

 

Once you have that plotted out, you can start to flesh out the skeleton of your novel. Use this time to:

  • Round out your characters.
  • Enrich your environments.
  • Add in try/fail cycles.
  • Work in the subplots.

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