Clark Chamberlain and Peter Turley explain the basics of structuring your novel by examining the common and uncommon methods of plot design. They will examine the importance authors need to place on plot structure in the editing process.

Learn how to:

  • Start your story at the optimal moment
  • Build tension and excitement
  • Create islands for readers to recuperate
  • Increase your writing productivity through plot

You’ll also learn different methods of plot design including:

  • Three-Act Structure
  • Hero’s Journey
  • Freytag’s Triangle

Prefer to watch?


Here are some diagrams illustrating a few of the different plot structure methods we discussed in this episode:

Three Act Structure

The diagram below comes from an article on Three Act Structure at  You can read the article here. Michael Hiebert is an award-winning author of novels and short stories including Dream With Little Angels which received a STARRED review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Three Act Plot Structure from

Three Act Structure is probably what most people are familiar with because it is used in plays.  Act One is the set up, Act Two is the confrontation and Act Three is the resolution.  Parts of the Three Act Structure include:

Act I

  • Setup
  • Inciting Event
  • Debate
  • Act I Climax

Act II

  • Obstacles
  • Midpoint
  • Confrontation
  • Failure


  • Final Climax
  • Descending Action
  • Resolution

The Hero’s Journey

The diagrams below comes from an article on Arch Plot and Classic Structure at  You can read the article here. Ingrid Sundberg is the author of All We Left Behind.

Archplot Structure from

Hero’s Journey plot structure from

The Hero’s Journey is a popular plot structure often used in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  This method is sometimes also referred to as Archplot Structure.  Parts of The Hero’s Journey include:

  • Call to action
  • Finding a Mentor
  • Threshold
  • Beginning of Transformation
  • Challenges and temptations
  • Ordeal
  • Death and Rebirth
  • Transformation
  • Road blocks
  • Enlightenment/Mastery
  • Return home

The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

The Hero’s Journey concept was developed by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his books The Hero With A Thousand Faces and The Hero’s Journey.  You can read more about it at this article from

You can also visit the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s official website at





Freytag’s Triangle

The following diagram comes from an article on  You can read the article here

Freytag’s Triangle from

Freytag’s Triangle, or Freytag’s Pyramid is a plot structure type developed by German author and playwright Gustav Freytag.  Parts of Freytag’s Triangle include:

  • Exposition
  • Rising Action
  • Climax
  • Falling Action
  • Resolution or Denouement