Story Arcs: 2013 365 Challenge #186

Aaron on his new bike (early bday gift)

Aaron on his new bike (early bday gift)

Following on from yesterday’s post, I was flicking through my notes for Dragon Wraiths today and I came across an eight-point story arc that I found on the website. The eight-points are taken from a craft book by Nigel Watts, called Teach Yourself: Writing a Novel. I have another in the Teach Yourself series (Teach Yourself Creative Writing) which is excellent, so I have ordered Nigel Watts’ book to help me with Class Act.

Running through the eight-point arc against Class Act, I realise that I am about 70% there, and it has really helped clarify the remaining 30%.

In summary the eight points are:

  • Stasis (normal life)
  • Trigger (external to protagonist, sparks the story)
  • Quest (caused by trigger)
  • Surprise (all the conflicts and complications of the story)
  • Critical Choice (reveals real personalities)
  • Climax (result of critical choice: highest peak of tension)
  • Reversal (consequence of critical choice and climax – should change status of characters)
  • Resolution (return to fresh stasis with characters changed and story resolved)

Interestingly I also found notes on the story arc for a Teen Romance by Mindy Hardwick (I’m always impressed when I discover that I did more research than I remembered!) The story-arc for YA Romance is Infatuation, Flirtation, Friendship, Commitment, Love. I think DW follows this, apart a comment Mindy Hardwick makes on the last point. She says

“…teen romances do not necessarily have a happily-ever-after. In fact, most teen romances will not have them. Why? […] Each teen has been changed by this first love, and now the characters will find themselves pulled apart by life events..”

I thought about leaving Luke behind at the end of Dragon Wraiths, unable to join Leah, but – what can I say? – I’m a sucker for a Happy Ever After!


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire froze, unsure how to react. She had never seen her mother cry before. Melanie Carleton did not show her feelings; it was vulgar. The most extreme portrayal of emotion thus far, in Claire’s experience, was irritation or chiding. Nothing to compare with the shuddering sobs shaking her mother’s shoulders. She knew she should offer comfort. Words, a hug. Somehow her body wouldn’t rise from the hard kitchen seat. She sat mute, and waited for the storm to pass.

Eventually, her mother raised her head and brushed at her cheeks, as if angry to find tears there. Claire willed herself to speak, the words dredged from her.

“Can I get you anything? Tea?”

Melanie shook her head. Her lips twisted, as if a bitter taste had filled her mouth.

“I’m fine. I’m sorry you had to see that.”

“Oh, Mum.” Claire rose, finally galvanised into motion. Moving round the table, she wrapped one arm awkwardly around her mother’s shoulders. Melanie reached to grasp her daughter’s hand, and they remained for some time in silence.

After a few minutes, her mother patted her hand, and Claire took the signal to sit back down. She pulled up a chair, sitting knee to knee.

“Why do you think he’s having an affair? That doesn’t seem like Dad.”

Melanie sighed. “Oh, it’s probably nothing. I’m never here, what with picking Sky up from school and making sure Ruth takes care of herself. I can understand your father needing to find something to fill his time.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s another woman.” Claire thought, guiltily, about the conversation she’d had with her father, last time she was home. She wanted to tell her mother, reassure her, but she’d revealed too many secrets recently. But surely it would be better than her mother thinking she was a cuckolded woman.

“There is only so much golf a man can play,” Melanie declared, more spirit in her voice. “But if he’s not playing golf, where on earth is he? He was out all day yesterday, in the pouring rain, but when he came home he wasn’t even damp. Since when did they have indoor golf courses. Besides, I didn’t even think he liked the game.”

Claire inhaled, not knowing what to do for the best. She watched as her mother twisted her fingers, bemused to see that the skin looked papery and thin. When did Mum get old?

Looking up at her face, she saw the weariness dragging at her mouth and darkening her eyes. Poor Mum.

“He doesn’t.” Claire’s words fell into the silence.

“What?” Melanie looked up, her face showing her confusion.

“He hates golf. He told me, last time I was here.”

She watched as the tiredness gave way to fury. That settled it, she had no choice but to give at least something away.

“I don’t think he’s having an affair though. I’m pretty certain you’ll find he’s been at the library. Don’t ask me why,” she added, before her mother could speak. “I’ve broken enough confidences. Ask him.” She put her hand on her mother’s knee, then took it away again and rested it in her own lap.

“You need a break. I’ll go and stay with Ruth for a few days. I’ll look after Sky, make sure they both eat, anything you tell me I need to do. Spend some time with Dad. Talk to him. You might be surprised.”

Relieved to see the fury seep away from her mother’s eyes, Claire got up and went to fill the kettle, wondering what she was going to say to Carl about taking more time off to look after her niece.


3 thoughts on “Story Arcs: 2013 365 Challenge #186

  1. Pingback: Training Day: 2013 365 Challenge #197 | writermummy

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