Do you get lost in the middle of writing your novel ... or just lost when writing, wondering what should come next?

Discover seven steps that will give each part of your novel a purpose, link the plot to your character's arc, and get you writing with a direction. We go over each step, give you a chapter estimate for each, and talk about how this technique has changed our writing.

For the Youtube video we mention in the podcast that has some visuals on the Seven Steps, check out

Check out the new reader-oriented Facebook group we mention in the episode at

And check out our book Plot Development: A Method of Outlining Fiction for more information on the Seven Steps of Story Structure and how it links to character arcs.

Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.  


Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review.  

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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast in today's publishing landscape. You can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts. Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt

Autumn (30s):
Hello? I'm Jesper and I am Autumn

Jesper (33s):
This is Episode 111 have The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast and I always like these episodes on the craft of writing and that's what we are going to talk about today. It's all about the seven steps of story structure. I am looking forward to this one. Actually, I have to confess, we have a seven steps of the story structured. Tee-shirt that I designed and I was in the end of the other day. And I was like, Oh, hovering over the button. I want to buy my self. Well, well maybe for my birthday, I've got to want to get a nice So. I haven't gotten it yet, but I, and so getting a new one for myself.

Autumn (1m 10s):
Yeah, there, there was actually quite a lot of nice things, both tee-shirts and there was also from Zazzle, you know, there are fun. I definitely needed a smaller, I need as little assortment going on, but I mean, it's stuff that I did, so I had to get an apartment, but I haven't yet I have my traveling life. Tee shirt would be a good one, I think.

Jesper (1m 33s):
Yeah, it's true. You can find it on a Am Writing Fantasy dot come by the way, if anybody is interested, but yeah, there was a whole assortment have all kinds of stuff where you can get with a nice Writing a branded Well whatever you would like to have keeps it.

Autumn (1m 51s):
Maybe not. But yeah, so I'm looking forward to this, but I know first of all, of that, you have had a terrible week and that shouldn't be laughing, but it was just so you do it. If you don't laugh, sometimes you will just end up as a little puddle on the floor crying, but I feel so cursed. I actually just wrote my niece and said that Oh because I am writing that story of the tainted Fe and I have a dark Fay, and I know I just, I don't know how its going to happen if that will work in, into the novels on I'm about to release before I release them. But I just have this scene where he is cursed and everything he touches starts to like go round wrong.

Autumn (2m 36s):
Like you can almost feel like you're in a mousetrap and you realize suddenly you are in a mouse trap it, or you could feel the strain that out. So that's something that you're going to touch is going to explode. The whole thing is going to go like crap. And you just have to sit there and be like, why am I cursed? What did I do? How do I get out of this? That is my life right now. So it's going to become a great scene in my story. But right now only go, I feel like I can forget it. I feel like I'm going to break something much worse than I've already broken so many things this week. Like my laptop. Yeah. So the deepest,

Jesper (3m 13s):
Just a breakdown. It's like my worst nightmare. I mean, Jesus, it's horrible. It, it has been on your laptop.

Autumn (3m 22s):
Yeah, it is its my life. I mean their was that moment, like literally And so the listeners haven't been a part of the conversation in the email chain between us. I literally was, I was working, I had my book file open. I was working on a cover. So for my next release, so I had Photoshop open. I had my editing notes open and I just went to unplug the power cable and the whole screen went black just mm. And it was that no, no, no, no, no. I mean the three things that you would not want to lose, not to have open on your computer when it dies.

Autumn (4m 3s):
It was like, no, no, but this is not my first computer death its so I, and I've definitely learned over the years. I, the first time something ever happened, we have talked about it before. I actually lost 10 chapters when I reached it right on my iPad. Yeah. And so the next time when I lost my Mac air, when we were traveling and living a vagabond lifestyle that hurt, but I only lost three days of data. Cause I was a really good at backing things up with this time, you know what? I get an eye or use iCloud. I new after that moment of Holy, you know, when I'm trying to give it to turn on and I'm sitting there with my head in my hands, leaning over it going, what have I not tried?

Autumn (4m 48s):
What else can I do? I am not going to panic. What else can I do? And I thought, you know, the files are fine. I keep all my book files are automatically stored. They don't even touch my hard drive. They are stored in Dropbox. Backup files are stored elsewhere. I do snapshots on Scrivener. And then what I do a really big updates, like finish a novel or finishing editing session. I would put the main file on an external drive. I have my book files everywhere. And so if everyone, anyone, if I refer to become famous in JK Rowling's I am screwed because I have to so many places I've got to protect my files, but I do it. So that the moments where you've realized that your entire everything you we're just working on is gone.

Autumn (5m 31s):
You can go that sucks. I might have lost five minutes of data. And it was just like I said, and what's the worst part? Is it literally this week, even just, I am currently borrowing my husband's laptop. He has been my Knight in shining armor, keeping me from going absolutely crazy and letting me borrow his Mac. And so kicking him off into some Old Dell lets you know, relegate it to the back corner, usually in the house. But it's, I've touched so many things setting up his I've just been like updating my Photoshop brushes and that I lose wifi connectivity. Just talking to you. I went to do something and find, or just shut down on me for no reason.

Autumn (6m 13s):
I was just making a folder and it disappears eye. We have a little water pump that runs battery. I went to use that the other day and I touched it and it just died. And my husband touches it. It works fine. I'm like, come on. This is not even funny. I feel it.

Jesper (6m 29s):
Do you want this, a recording session here? And your microphone would not work?

Autumn (6m 36s):
Oh my God. I literally feel cursed and I don't know what I did, but I will definitely, definitely feel like, you know, what are the Fae in my story that they are just totally cursed. And my one character always feels like he was cursed and I feel like I am just somehow became him and its socks. Well, yeah.

Jesper (7m 3s):
That's comma for you because now you can try to live the life of one of your characters and feel what is like all the shit you put them through it.

Autumn (7m 10s):
Yeah. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I'm gonna, I need to make a, men's put out some honey into a dish outside or something. I don't know. But yeah, so we're rolling.

Jesper (7m 21s):
Yeah. Where you are really, really nice to them and everything goes smoothly for chapter two. It would have been, maybe they will lift the curse. Maybe it's the characters. Yeah.

Autumn (7m 29s):
Yeah. It could be. I will try that because that's my wits say they are a Fe it, it would be my luck to have pissed off the Faye. So anyway. Yeah. How has your life or you can be this bad. No, not yet.

Jesper (7m 43s):
No, not that bad or even exciting as, as, as it is on your end. But I, I think given what you've been through, I, I think I, I can live with that. I can live with a bit of boringness on that. That's okay. Yeah. No, it's, it's very similar. I guess we're still a partial lockdown here and there. I don't want to talk more about that. So, but the good news is that the way I'm approaching the final few chapters of our first short story and the in Alicia, I'm in the world of Alicia. So that would be,

Autumn (8m 13s):
I guess that is so cool. And I was so on my way to catch up to you this weekend, but you know, I'll get there this week. I hope that other disasters, but you know, it's funny because as a long time ago, I read into a story that there was a curse and I believe it's a tribe somewhere on this planet, but the curse is literally may your life be extraordinary because if it is, if you are with the one chosen by the, God's just like, if you're chosen by a character, you know, in the Novel, if you were one of the heroes, your life sucks. So I am so happy you have had a normal life. So one of us has to do it, even though we also got Facebook

Jesper (8m 56s):
Groups started for our readers four, the world of Elysium, we will add a link in the show notes to that group or just in case anybody's listening on. Interesting, interested in that. But the reason why, or why I mentioned that is more to say that it's quite fun. You know, when, when, when you create the something new like this and this, a Facebook group is knew and there's just so few people in there are very, very little engagement. It is like a cold new world. And I think it's fun to sometimes you remind yourself on what it was like also when you first started out and you had no audience, you know, it's cathartic in some ways, isn't it?

Jesper (9m 37s):
It, it is. Except I feel like I might have touched that's what happened to him. So I don't know why it's not my fault. I know it's not now, but I think, I think it's quite nice and healthy as well for once in a while too, because you know, we all have the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group and that's the one that has to do. And so many people are also joining us every single day. There is a new bits of people joining. There's a lot of awesome posts, a lot of great stuff that people are posting in helping each other with and so on. And then you'd go into the crickets and all we know it's a, it's a, it's quite fun.

Jesper (10m 22s):
But of course, I mean over time we will try to build that one up. So that's going to be a very engaging and fun as well. But I just, I don't know. I just thought about that today and I thought it was quite funny.

Narrator (10m 36s):
Oh, a week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast

Jesper (10m 41s):
So before you were a computer crass, Autumn you actually manage to finish up two logos for Elysium? I did, which was exciting and yeah, so it was about ready to work on other things for our listeners I'm have some maps, but it was, and I did more than we did. We've gone through how many drafts of logos, where we found two that we liked. So that was exciting. Yeah, indeed. And so we, we are actually going to post them to our reader list, email list and ask them to vote for the one that they liked the most, because that's really the reason why I mentioned that. If there's more to say that, I think the stuff like this, it is it's good to make a reminder for yourself to 'em to get some input from other people.

Jesper (11m 24s):
'cause the authors themselves are not always the best judge's on which in this case you it's a logo. We could also be a book cover or something like that. But we are not always the best just because of which one is the best one. So yeah. Just leverage your email list for that kind of stuff. Absolutely. I mean, and plus it gives the readers, like it makes it, your readers feel like they are important. They get to be a part of the decision. And yeah, this is just like, you were a focus group to ask your reader is like, Hey one, do you like,

Autumn (11m 54s):
This is, this is perfect. If they like it and they will see things that maybe you don't, because you're so worried about something more particular. And they're going to come with fresh eyes and not know the story and not know the history, but they're going to have to feel that immediate connection. Hopefully too one of them, even though I still have my favorite, but we'll see how it goes.

Jesper (12m 13s):
Yeah, yeah, indeed. We'll see how, what the votes say, but a Yeah indeed. And, and they had also of course built some anticipation a about the future Writing you are doing when you do stuff like that. So I do encourage people hear listening to a treasurer to think if there is something that you could share with you, a list, something that would, it, it doesn't have to be directly something, you know, if it doesn't have to be an extra out of the actual writing, it could be something like this, like a logo or maybe some art work or something, a bit of your setting, but something that teases a bit and builds anticipation of, of maybe the next book you're writing. You know, I think that that kind of thing is always good to do so.

Jesper (12m 53s):
Yeah. But I'm onto something else. But I also noticed How Keith post-it in the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group a, we talked about that in a moment ago as well. So this is a lot of posts in there, but I just pick one here that the, because he, he is outlining a new series and he asked for tools or resources to help him organize his world building. And I always loved the world building questions. And then, yeah, I just think it's an incredibly useful again here, when you can ask other people for inputs and advice. So, you know, just before it was with our reader's list, but here it's asking fellow authors for their advice on a, on what they use, For taking world building notes and he got us a lot of suggestions on that.

Autumn (13m 43s):
I am sure he has. So there's been actually a few threads on there recently with tons and tons of comments, which, or it's just awesome to see so many people help each other out. So I did laugh cause there was one who is, I can't even remember the test that he had mentioned, but he was like, Hey, does anyone else ever use this sort of basically it's a reader level task. Like, are you writing at fifth grade level or are you writing for 13th grit? And I had to look that one up and I'm like, ah, that's why would I was in high school? They always said, I read it at an advanced level. It was this test. Okay. So the mystery salt from something at a high school, but yeah. You know, sometimes there's less, less comments on a post, but it was very interesting.

Autumn (14m 23s):
It made me go look it up. Oh yeah, they do. Yeah.

Jesper (14m 26s):
So that was one of the suggestions that he got on this wall. Building a post was well that a lot of people are using spreadsheets. Some are you using Google docs will and will was mentioned that we know all of that, but there were some of, you also mentioned campfire pro or I'm not aware of that one. Do you know what that is?

Autumn (14m 45s):
No, no. I haven't looked at that one. I'll have to. Definitely, because I know as I build the illicium website, we've been talking about how to make it a link to like almost an encyclopedia of our world. And I'm looking for plugins and methods of doing that. So I'll have to check out a campfire. Yeah. I don't know why,

Jesper (15m 2s):
What it is, but yeah, but maybe in some, maybe there will be inspiration for me for some listeners hear as well. If you, if you're looking for ways to organize your world building, we do have a lot more options on. Now let me say a few more options are different options in the world building course as well. Yeah. So yeah, when we open that later on in this year will let you know if you are on the email list. So you can get on to the email is from Am Writing Fantasy dot com. So we will let you know, in, in case you are interested in that.

3 (15m 35s):
Yeah. And on to today's topic. So Autumn,

Jesper (15m 40s):
Seven Steps of Story Structure

Autumn (15m 43s):
Is this what I found? The seven steps. I can't remember how or where I found it, but it totally changed in me. It was a light bulb going off on how the Writing in Story process worked. Nothing else had worked for me before, but this, I was like, Oh, okay. And so I have been a huge fan for, well, I mean, I realize the next year will be 10 years of self publishing. So considering how long it took me to write my first, my debut novel, I've been writing for over 10 a decade now. So yeah, this has totally changed in my organization, in my story Outlining so

Jesper (16m 25s):
Yeah. Before going into any of the steps and so on. Yeah.

Autumn (16m 28s):
Oh yeah. It may be a high level. Why

Jesper (16m 32s):
Or why do you think it made sense? A difference?

Autumn (16m 35s):
Oh, I think, I think a lot of people are taught in high school or even writing classes. You and I have my undergraduate in a way of writing in English and a lot of them teach the three acts process and it, to me that's way too broad. It doesn't have a progression in my mind, it's more of a static framework because in each of those three are broken down into three and it feels more to me like slots like a picket fence. Like this is just how it looks, but this is literally a Story progression. Plus not only is each step build on the next one to create a flow. Once you realize how it interlinks with the character arc so that the character more or less all of the Plot stems from the characters actions.

Autumn (17m 24s):
And so the character arc is tied to the plot in it all becomes is massive. We achieve that has a definitive flow and in an input that comes out to a totally different output. And you're like, Oh, I have a whole story. And it makes sense. It's not M is not linear so much as a lot of loops, I guess. And that's probably how my brain works.

Jesper (17m 48s):
Yeah. Yeah. That's true. Well, there is like a million ways of a structuring stories and then everybody can find their own way through it, I guess. But I also liked how well, how are each of the steps are getting into it's it's more granularly, its more specific. And I like that rather than, you know, a very broad, high level strokes where you don't really see any way, understand what I, what am I supposed to put into those three steps or the three oxen? And I know, I think I heard somebody, you also talked about nine arcs or something, right?

Autumn (18m 27s):
Oh yeah. And I've heard have a five act structure two in that one. I haven't, it's not as popular. I haven't seen much on it, but especially to me, the three act, so many writers get stuck, we call it the money in the middle of the machine middle. They get stuck in the second one. This one doesn't have, it has a second, but the middle it's so definitive and it breaks it down so clearly. And then it also gives you a chapter guideline, like how much should it be of the Novel so that you know, how many chapters even should be in it. It just it's like giving someone a map with clear instructions on how to go from point a to point B or Z and you know, all the stops along the way and how long each of those stops or supposed to take.

Autumn (19m 8s):
And its just like, Oh, there you go. I can get out there. I love that feeling.

Jesper (19m 13s):
Yeah. So where do, where does, where do we start?

Autumn (19m 18s):
Well, I guess we could start with the intro where that's, where you start with your Novel.

Jesper (19m 24s):
Yeah, that sounds good.

Autumn (19m 25s):
Yeah. And so the intro of the seven steps in technically there's one in there and we'll talk about that is not officially a step because that would make it eight, but this first one is the intro. So that's the introduction and it is, I like to call it the way I, the way we teach it. And the Fantasy writer's guide is that this is sort of a mini story. And everyday moment that you go in and you meet the character, you know, all of those things that people tell you, it should be starting with action. Don't do too much. Don't do info, dumb thing. All of those things, all of that happens in those first initial pages of the intro, which is, I believe it's like 10% of your entire novel one, the three chapters.

Autumn (20m 6s):
I no, for me, I, especially when I'm writing a series, the first book might be up to three chapters, but a lot of the time, you know, this is a one or two chapter and then I get to the next phase, but that's the one thing I like to get to the thing I like to get things going really quickly. But other times you like to ease it in with a couple like three chapters, have your introduction.

Jesper (20m 27s):
Yeah, no I, yeah. And I think one of the things that is really good with this is that when you think of it as a bit of a mini story, and so it just, you know, stretching a couple of chapters and that's it, but that it forces you to sort of try to build a bridge between the let's it, the day-to-day or the ordinary world that the character lives in a way to whatever is going to happen in this story. Right? So So you, you're sort of building a small bridge there between going around doing your day-to-day job, all of those versus the something, something is going to happen, then you're going to get pushed into, into the story.

Jesper (21m 8s):
But because you have a bit of length to work with you and you have some, let's not call it rules, but guidelines on, on how a 10% may be a couple of chapters long. This also forces you to get to the point. I, I think I've mentioned on a previous podcast episode that I, and I'm not going to mention names yet, but I was reading a book awhile ago where honestly, it was like, I think 15 chapters or something and very little happened other than we were following the character. And he was going about his day to day things and in the village that he lived in and out and stuff like that, it was like, yeah, OK. You had a bit of a conflict with some other boys that were teasing him and stuff, but it was like, Hmm.

Jesper (21m 52s):
Okay. But 15 chapters is just like, it's enough for you to put the book down.

Autumn (21m 59s):
Not enough for me to put the book down, assuming that they are, there are more than a page long. Yeah,

Jesper (22m 4s):
No, no, no, no. On some of them were a really long chapter as well. I only managed to read it to the end because I was doing it for some market research for free for us. So that was when I was reading it. But honestly, I mean, when you have a bit of guidelines saying, keep it short and build the bridge between now and four, what comes next year then? Yeah. You are forced to, to make it interesting. And you also can't waffle about what all kinds of other things, because then it's going to take up too much space in the, in the Novel and at least when you are not following the guideline, which of course, you know, you know, again, I don't want to call it a rule, but there is a reason why there was a guideline.

Jesper (22m 48s):

Autumn (22m 48s):
Absolutely. And especially, I mean, going with the idea of the mini story and starting with action, you know, the best way to do it is to basically have something going wrong in the characters every day. But it's a minor like it's like a normal every day, a hiccup, I think before I have used an example of like, you know, the, the, the little shepherd girl is supposed to be going to school and instead the goats have gotten out it's her fault. So she has got to go get them and that sets her off somewhere else. And that is the introduction. You get to see a little bit of our world. You get to see a little bit of things going wrong. What she supposed to be doing, where she wants to be. You get a, feel, an emotional feel as well as a physical action feel of what was going on and this character's life.

Autumn (23m 31s):
And it was a hiccup. I mean, it's to go, it's getting out of it is not do you know, the Orks rating the entire village? Its just a little problem, but it's a normal problem that the reader can relate to. Even if you've never heard of goats before you kind of get idea that you're not supposed to let them out and getting in trouble as a kid and that you are supposed to be going to school and yeah, you can get those feelings. You relate really quickly without getting worried about the, what the heck is going on and who is this person or those little questions. Yeah.

Jesper (24m 3s):
The other part is as well that it gives you the possibility to build that likeness for the main character. You, if you can show them in a small, like everyday situation where they are doing something nice for somebody, are they helping somebody then maybe the, you know, taking care of an animal or just something that will stop building that relationship with the reader on all of that like ability towards the readers or the reader feels like, aah, like this person, this was a nice person, right. That

Autumn (24m 34s):
Connection, that emotional

Jesper (24m 36s):
Connection and built that right from the beginning. That's good. Yeah. Yeah.

Autumn (24m 40s):
So all of that leads into the inciting incident, which is when you are really starting to introduce the bigger Plot of the Novel. Now this one is, this is quick, this is one chapter. It happens and it's boom. And it is when you flip the character's world completely upside down. And that's why it's so much fun. And its really, it kind of starts off the whole story. Plot the big Plot and this is where you have introduced the reader. So they feel familiar with the character and this thing happens and they were like, Oh my gosh, how's this, how's this character that I've started caring about going to get through this. And so it's so much fun to write.

Jesper (25m 23s):
Yeah. Yeah. There's not much to sell, to say I'm in the inciting incident is the inciting incident.

Autumn (25m 28s):
Right, right. It is. And I think that's a good way of looking at it is like, if you have that many Story, this is the outcome of them in the story and whatever that outcome is, it's not what the character expects. It is like, it is the opposite. So you go to go find your goats and you know, either the whole village is swept up into an armed raid while you're gone or she gets abducted to a fairy world. Something happens. It is not the normal everyday anymore.

Jesper (25m 59s):
Yeah. Yeah. And you get to see the, that there are bigger things that play out.

Autumn (26m 4s):
Yeah. I guess that's a good way to put it. Absolutely.

Jesper (26m 9s):
So where do we go in step three?

Autumn (26m 11s):
Oh this is always it's. So now we're starting to tactically get into the middle of that in the three X structure is where I would always get lost. So this is the next phase is the reaction phase, which is like the name of it. This is where the character reacts to what just happened. And it's so easy to mentally when you usually get to the middle and you're like, I don't know what's going to happen. I need to throw in some hurdles. Right? I have to throw in some laws and I don't know why. Well, this tells you, okay, these, this sec next section, which Oh, I'm trying to think about 20%, maybe 30 to 30% of the Novel it's usually like five to seven chapters, depending on how long you draw it out.

Autumn (26m 55s):
I think our smaller reaction phase is better than a longer one because this is literally the character reacting to the world being thrown upside down. So there going to be probably overreacting. They're not going to survive the, unless they have health or luck. And there's only so much time. You can draw that out where your a main character is flailing on the point of failure before the coup, before the reader is like, Oh, Please get a clue just to get a clue. So this one is, it is, yeah, I like this one on the shorter side personally, but that's how I write. You can make this one as long as the next, next phase.

Autumn (27m 35s):
So in two phases from now

Jesper (27m 38s):
And the character incompetent also shows you here, right? So you can show how the character is really not equipped to deal with this situation at all. And probably going to fail, ah, and stumble through that through things. And then that's also a, well, we can talk a bit about character arc a bit later here, but, but that's where you can start showing the Well the beginnings of the characters, meaning that the, this is where the character is feeling. And then later on, when you start seeing that the character succeeding than you can start seeing the chains there, and then you can see that the character has gained new skills and new knowledge is getting better or stronger or whatever it is that the user story is about.

Jesper (28m 21s):
So it, it seats very well in character arcs with the story structure in itself.

Autumn (28m 27s):
It does. I mean, this is basically the character, once things to revert to the normal every day, even if they thought they hated the normal every day, there's this longing where they realize I'm not prepared for this. This is, this is much more real than I thought it was. And so there, there are stumbling around and that is the perfect be the basis for a character to grow to either one, a return to what things were to have the wrong view of the world, to just have everything show that they are a novice and a newbie and not who they thought they were or even thought they could be. And yet that's to be getting out of character arc. Right?

Jesper (29m 5s):
Yeah, indeed. And this is also where they was likely will sort of try to hang on to the Well the Lite that they are telling themselves about the world that you know, that they will, they'll try desperately to hang onto the understanding of the world and say, you know, that this is how it's supposed to work and I'll continue down this road of how its supposed to be. Even though I'm banging my head against the wall all the time, but I'm still gonna try because I'm convinced that this is the way things are. And, and then again, later on when the, with the character talk to you later on, once they start realizing that maybe there is something with myself, I need to as well to be able to succeed again, then you are starting to show you, how would you change in the person?

Jesper (29m 46s):
And then it becomes a Well the character becomes alive. It becomes more than a cardboard, a cardboard, a cop out that the guy that is a whole living on the page. I mean, it's, it's, three-dimensionally all of a sudden.

Autumn (30m 0s):
Absolutely. Yes. I think that is a great way of putting it that this is it, it makes the world so much and the arcs in the story, it was just really becomes an issue,

Jesper (30m 10s):
Deeper topic. Yeah. And then we move on to what step four now,

Autumn (30m 17s):
Step for us. So this is one of my favorite it's often called dark Knight of the soul or the new infos phase. I, I loved the idea of the dark Knight of the soul of this is like the treachery, you know, it just sounds cool. And it was just like, ah, this is like, you know, you you've failed so badly in the reaction phase, you have held to that deep believe, that wrong view of the world. So strongly that you've caused like the death of your best friend, that someone is captured dead and you have that moment of waking up or staying up all night, going, Holy,

Jesper (30m 52s):
The crap I screwed up. Yeah.

Autumn (30m 56s):
I have to admit though, when I do my writing, if I go back and look at all of the ones, I tend to do a new info, which is a new, a new piece of the puzzle, new information clicks into place and you send, they go, Oh crap. That's what I needed to be doing. And this is the truth that I didn't realize before. So you can do it depends on if you're into the dark, FANTASY a dark story or a more of a, Novel a noble bright, which I tend to write Nobel Brite by myself. So I tend to have more than that. Oh, this is where I'm supposed to be going more than I have that. Oh, you just died. I'm so sorry.

Jesper (31m 29s):
Yeah. Sorry. The evilness always comes out.

Autumn (31m 37s):
It does. You know, I have is everyone once in a while, you're at a really dark one, but you know, it's usually not there, but, and this is another one that is also just 1% of the Novel one chapter. You just have one moment or this happens, you don't draw it out too long. You make it emotionally impactful, whether it is Lite and a new info or dark and death and despair. And just that horrible sleepless night of realizing you are a total screw up when you've because a serious thing to happen. One of those to you just get through it and move on. It's sort of, it is in a way it's a long haul. It's a reaction as well to something that just happened.

Autumn (32m 17s):
So its not an exciting chapter, but it's an emotional impact. And this is the second turning point of the Novel when the inciting incident 20 all of the turning points or just one chapter, the inciting incident, one chapter first turning point. This is the second turning 0.1 chapter dark night of the soul. Whether it be,

Jesper (32m 36s):
Yeah, it's an exciting chapter. It's just not actually now I think what it is. Yeah,

Autumn (32m 40s):
I think so. I mean it's, it's Yeah there is no, usually no battle scenes, dooring it? Unless it's all kind of gets conglomerated in there, but it is definitely just an incredibly impactful chapter. Yeah.

Jesper (32m 55s):
Okay. And after that we move into step five.

Autumn (32m 58s):
So at five. So now this is the other side of the coin from the reaction phase, which was the character flailing about and screwing up in nearly dying. If it wasn't for luck and friends, we're in the planning phase now. So this is the characters that are coming out of that dark night of the soul are coming out of the new info phase, going, this is what I need to do and I'm going to make this plan. I am going to get this person to help me. I'm gonna go get this talisman. I am going to go and do something because they are seeing the bigger picture in the world. That's not just about them. You know, this is where their working with the character arc, where they're going from. I have this false beliefs to going, Oh this is the real problems in the world.

Autumn (33m 39s):
And it's not about me going back to what I want, but is about me solving this problem for everyone who had the same problem I did. And it's kind of, it's so dynamic again, this is the middle where so many authors get lost. And suddenly you're saying, you know, 20 to 30% of your Novel five to seven chapters, the planning phase, you know, you can make it a little bit longer if your reaction phase is really short, but this is where things are starting to click. And the tension starting to build this is where the villain is starting to take notice directly out of the hero. And so things, every single hurdle that they come up against is getting bigger and bigger. And now the main character is starting to when some on his own or her own starting to make progress, which is making them much more of a threat.

Autumn (34m 24s):
So the cycle, the tension starts really ratcheting down and this was such a fun phase to right? Yeah.

Jesper (34m 32s):
Then all of a sudden in the middle doesn't sound boring anymore. Now it's just a big thing. And you also were sort of at the point of no return at this point, you know, the character is starting to understand that, okay. I just, I can't just ignore this stuff and I can't just go back to where I was and, and take care of the goats anymore. I have to do something to eat, you know, whatever. And we'll be in Epic Fantasy it's often to do with saving the world and stuff like that, but it could be all kinds of stuff.

Autumn (35m 3s):
Absolutely. Yeah. This is why I like that. At the point of no return. At this point, they have kind of realized they are moving towards a definitive, what will be the climax. They are realizing that they have a bigger problem to solve and maybe every time they try to find it, they are finding more roadblocks, whatever it is to make the hurdles make sense in your world where a lot of the reaction phase hurdles can often be like environmental. Like, you know, they are not prepared for the cold, the wet, the rain, the distance, the food, something like that. This is getting much more specific where they are going after people and henchmen and drag it and or whatever they're doing. These are the really kind of bigger and bigger and bigger and battles. Hm.

Jesper (35m 41s):
Yeah. I like, you're just mentioning dragons.

Autumn (35m 43s):
So I had to slip that in.

Jesper (35m 48s):
Okay. But then we get to step number six.

Autumn (35m 51s):
Yeah we do. And this is where I do. 'em maybe it's 5.5. So its not really faze, but there is something called the discission and that is the bridge between the planning phase and the climax. And so this is in its own way is as the climate is as big as the whole Novel is leading up to this. But the decision is a moment where the character realizes maybe I'm scared. I didn't ever expect to get here. It's kind of a looking back at everything they've done looking at it. What's at stake. You know, there are going from carrying about, you know, fighting three loss goats to trying to save the world. And so you kind of make sense of that.

Autumn (36m 31s):
You have that moment of a deep breath have I might die, but this is worth it. I am doing this. I am going to go fight this sucker. And they made that decision and that is really important. It's sometimes only a paragraph, but at that moment is a really good moment because it kind of let's the reader to take a breath and also understand how big and important this is. And then we move into the climax, which is again a 20 to 30% of the Novel. This is the five to seven to 10 chapters. This is the big to do where everything happens, the battle, the fill-in and the hero has to meet.

Autumn (37m 12s):
They have to hit head to head and how that happens is in what's going to happen. That's all the climax. Right?

Jesper (37m 21s):
And it's often, you know, the, the, the intro pot. Oh no, no, no. Maybe not step one because I think a lot of people fail there as well in terms of understanding, building that little ministry or in the beginning. But it, at least if we check it from the inciting incident part, that part people usually do not struggle with. Yeah. And also here with the climax. In most cases, people do not struggle with that either, but it's a, it's a step in between that are difficult most of the time. So I think when we are talking about the climax in most people or most writers, even inexperienced ones will feel fairly okay with this part because this is, this is probably most likely their stuff you had in mind already when you decided the story and the first place that you want it to ride.

Jesper (38m 5s):
A lot of the times you have a feeling of from the beginning were you will want things to end up and how it's going to be this massive battle with all the dragons and, and the goats and a roasting. Right?

Autumn (38m 19s):
Yeah. And the dragons of the goat's are going to be an interesting one to two against each other. I hope they are on the same tight you need to renew. No. And so yeah, I agree. I think most people have an idea that the climax, I think the biggest word of advice is that you have to make sure that everything that happened before the climax makes it worthwhile. So you can have the, I was a show and now I'm trying to remember of course, because my brain is so fried, but she was a succubus and it was a really good story and character art and Magic and Fay. But the battle scenes, the climax of the series of the season was always crop.

Autumn (39m 0s):
They had like this Huntress who was so, you know, I had been alive for a a thousand years and he had fought all these battles that she died by like missing the bad guy with one sword stroke. I was like, come on, literally my nephew could write a better climate. So make this one is important. Everything that came before, it should make sense. And it, the climax has to over top them all. It has to be this level of tension that, you know, readers are gasping and they can put it down before going to bed. And if you haven't gotten that, go back and rewrite it because this is an important step. This is what, you know, everyone's been waiting for us. And if you serve mushy cake, instead of this amazing, you know, baked Alaska, if people are going to know

Jesper (39m 45s):
Sure. And then we came into this to come in to the final step. Yeah.

Autumn (39m 49s):
Okay. And this is what I think would do a lot of authors do miss and mess up or just kind of skip. And that's the wrap-up and it sounds so simple, but it's an important one is important. If you're going to have a continuing series, you want to introduce the next thread, maybe even the next inciting incident at the very, very, very end, but you need to take the energy of the climax, give your readers a quick breath, give them an idea of, you know, how people are faring the love interest, wrap it up the subplots. This is the emotional ending. Often of the Story. This is the last tastes, you know, a sip of wine. This is the last tape that's going to linger in their minds, on their lips when they shut the page.

Autumn (40m 31s):
And it's either going to be making them, you know, look and stylistically foreword and put it away forever. Or is it going to get them ramped up to want to go grab the next book, whatever that emotional ending is. This is you finished that in the, wrap-up be it one chapter two to three. This is again it's, it's like a mirror image. You can almost fold the seven steps and a half and a, they mirror image of each other pretty well. That perfectly we are pretty well, but the ramp-up is like the intro. Its just a quick little story, right?

Jesper (41m 1s):
Yeah. And it's pretty cool. When you can do a bit of a cold back to the intro, a Lilly and it ties everything two together in a neat little boat there. That that's really nice, but I was actually going to maybe step into a bit of a hornet's nest here.

Autumn (41m 16s):
Ooh, that's a very brave of you and you know how my week is going. So just be warned.

Jesper (41m 23s):
Yeah, no, it was more because I know how what's a lot of people hate at the last season of game of Thrones. Right. But I just wanted to mention that actually one of the things that I found done very well, despite all the hating that goes to the, the very, very last Episode in the eye. I can't remember anymore. Its quite a while since our words, but maybe its like the last 15 minutes or 10 minutes, something like that. But that's actually where you have the wrap-up. Yes. And you get to see every single of the, one of the important characters and what's the what's going to happen to them and, and how do their life sort of continue from there?

Jesper (42m 7s):
And I think that part in itself, whether your night, like the season or not, it doesn't matter, but those 10 minutes, 15 minutes, however long that was, I can remember, but that wrap it up. They did that in the, in the end. I thought that was done very, very nicely. Yeah. It was not to cry it out. It was to the point. It just gave you the insight of what's going to happen with these characters and finish things off in a good way because the Westway you can finish it up. Well this was a TV series then, but even novels, you know, when things are just left hanging, you have no idea what happened to these people then. Yeah. That that's really not a very satisfactory ending, even though you might have had the most awesome battle just before.

Jesper (42m 49s):
But if you don't just leave everybody hanging on that. Yeah. Okay. He defeated the ma the matte necromancer and then a yeah, that was cool. Thanks by that.

Autumn (43m 1s):
That works very well. Especially if you do have any subplots that weren't tied up and you know, you see it, you always have that Rita raise your hand, but what about he had a few of the necromancer, but he never picked up the drop Juul that you know, is going to potentially blow up. And you know, you want to see those things. You wanna know the two that are going to be another book or you want to know if it's really a happily ever after they've married or are they going to, you know, have kids, even a Harry Potter, it had that little glimpse forward where he's sending his kids off to Hogwarts. Those are those little moments that you're like, Oh, we don't know that whatever happens, the world goes on, they have a future. And it kind of gives that reader of the idea that, Oh, I like that.

Autumn (43m 43s):
I like knowing that there are going to be OK. You can let that go now.

Jesper (43m 48s):
Yeah. In the end of the law of the rings for a role. So reach out to the Shire. Oh no. Maybe he doesn't know. I can't remember anymore, but the day there is a return to the <inaudible> to see how things are going and Frodo leaves on the Elvin boat. I can't remember if it goes to the GI first off and then leaves on Delvin boat or not. I, I can't remember. I actually, it should be honest, but ER, but anyway, you do go back to the chair and a, you do also see what happens to the Frodo afterwards, which again is a good wrap-up. It shows the life of the character, what what's going to happen next day. And it does not, well, it should not be drawn out at all. It should be a fairly short face, but you can tell a lot in a few paragraphs, even for yourself or like, like my game Thrones example from before they probably visited like 10 characters in 10 minutes or something and they, it was nice.

Jesper (44m 39s):
You don't need more. Now I think I am definitely one of the authors I always mean to do a longer wrap-up but I tend to get, even for the end of a series is like two chapters. But you were like, you said that you can do a lot for me. It's often it takes two chapters because maybe I switch point of view or, or something, but you can wrap up some stuff and if you're building to the next book, this is where you do it. You have a good little moment of, Oh thank goodness. And then someone's like, Oh, but what about that joke that everyone dropped in and you got lost in the dragons, ate it. And you're like, Oh, and then the Novel ends then of course the reader's like, okay, well what about that? Then they could get to the next one. Yeah, no doubt. All right. So I wanted to mention as well, when we are talking about, these are the seven steps of, of story structure.

Jesper (45m 25s):
If you would like to have a bit of graphics to go along with the, each of the steps that you can actually go onto the Am Writing, Fantasy a YouTube channel because it would have a video on there that was recorded. I don't know, a couple of years ago probably by now, but Autumn goes through to seven steps there as well. And there was a bit of graphics on the screen screen on their screen, on this screen, so that it's even easier to follow. Or even if, if you need even more than that, you can also go and pick up the aisle plotting books because it's spelt on the rupture. And it explains of course in a lot more detail that we can do here exactly how to build every single one of those steps and what do you need to put into them?

Jesper (46m 9s):
So we will put a link to the plotting books in the show notes. So, you know, you can go in and check that one out if you, if you need that guidance, but, and you have a starting point video, if you want, the video is good, but it's even better. If the planning book really links in the character building and the character arc and how the character is really the one who is driving the seven steps. So definitely check that out if you have questions or is it sounded like, Hey, this is how I went to, right? Because like I said, this is, this is how I write. It makes so much sense. And I, I never fall in the middle. I usually fall in the climax because there is so much going on. If I don't add at least two chapters to every climax, I right. It would be, it would be a first time.

Jesper (46m 51s):
Yeah. So hopefully that was helpful. We try to keep it, lets say simple enough that it's easy to follow, you know, on an audio podcast like this, but there are a means to, to get more detailed both from the video, but also from the book on plodding. If, if you need that. Next Monday we will discuss how to make the most of good reads as an author. Is it useful or useful for a site for a book marketing? So tune in and find out if you like,

Narrator (47m 25s):
What did you just heard? There is a few things you can do to support the Am FANTASY PODCAST Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn in Jasper on Am Writing Fantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going to stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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