On a theoretical level, art often comes down to patterns. As readers and even writers we are not always conscious of these patterns, but whenever we are able to recognize that a story works—or does not work—usually what we are responding to is the comparative effectiveness of certain underlying patterns. This is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in story structure.
A few weeks ago, in response to a query from a reader, I posted about “The Crucial Link Between Your Story’s Inciting Event and Climactic Moment,” in which I talked about how story structure can be viewed not just as an “arc” but in fact as a full circle. All of the major structural beats in the first half of a story can be seen as corresponding in important ways to their “partners” in the second half of the story.
Specifically in that post, I discussed the causal and catalytic link between the Inciting Event in the First Act and the Climactic Moment in the Third. Since quite a few of you were interested in exploring the links between the other paired beats, today will be the “official” beginning of a quick series on each of these important structural pairings. Obviously, I’ve gone a bit out of order, since I started with the Inciting Event/Climactic Moment, so today we’re taking a step back to explore the Hook/Resolution.
But first, let me repeat what I said in the last post: Don’t let this view of story structure seem too daunting or over-complicated. If you understand the function of each of the major structural beats, you’re probably already instinctively pairing them. From there, deepening your conscious awareness of what you’re doing will help you troubleshoot problems and bring additional cohesion and resonance to your story.