Jan 23Liked by Michelle Hoover

Super informative. I'm still sifting through my notes. One thing I'd like to throw in here is to expound on what Hesse said at the end. There is more than one way than Save the Cat to structure a novel. Here are a few different story structures. Each one offers a unique way of constructing a narrative, and understanding them can be helpful for writers and storytellers.

Fichtean Curve:

The Fichtean Curve, named after novelist Johann Fichte, is a structure that focuses on building tension and drama in a story. It typically includes an exposition where the setting and characters are introduced, followed by rising action with several small crises that build tension. This leads to a climax with the greatest tension, followed by falling action and resolution where conflicts are resolved. It's like a series of waves building up to a big wave and then calming down. Think: Pride and Prejudice.

Hero's Journey:

Also known as the Monomyth, this structure was popularized by Joseph Campbell, but really JRR Tolkein owns it. It's common in mythologies and epic tales. The Hero's Journey usually involves a hero who goes on an adventure, faces a crisis, wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. The stages include the Call to Adventure, Assistance, Departure, Trials, Approach, Crisis, Treasure, Result, Return, New Life, Resolution, and Status Quo.


The Meander structure is akin to a winding river. It's a non-linear narrative that often moves back and forth across time and space. This structure allows for a more exploratory form of storytelling, delving into various aspects of characters or events. It's not focused on a traditional beginning, middle, and end but rather on a journey through different scenes and moments. One Hundred Years of Solitude uses this structure.


In the Spiral narrative structure, the story often revisits the same events or themes but from different perspectives or in a different context each time. This can lead to a deeper understanding or a different interpretation of the events each time they are revisited. It's like circling around a central theme or event, getting closer to the core with each pass. Most recent example I can think of is Gone Girl.


The Explode structure is characterized by a central event or moment that the narrative constantly returns to, exploring its implications and consequences in various ways. The story might start with this central event and then branch out in multiple directions, examining the impact on different characters or aspects of the story world. In The Hours, Michael Cunningham 'explodes' his narrative from the central theme of VIrginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, exploring its impact on the different characters across time

Each of these structures offers a unique approach to storytelling. Michelle's point (and Hesse's and Sara's) was that Save the Cat is having a moment and perhaps we constrict ourselves. Sara asked us all to think about what our writing goals were. If we want commercial fiction Save the Cat might be the easiest route to go. Booker and National Book Award winners often go a different route. It depends on the type of story you wish to tell. It's also possible to mix elements from different structures to create a narrative style that best suits your story. The fun is in trying out different structures to see which is most suitable. That's where Michelle's deconstruction comes in.

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Jan 23Liked by Michelle Hoover

Michelle, this January 2024 series is the best of all you did.

I didn't think you could do better it is outstanding.

This Podcast about revision is stunning.

Thank you, and a thousand thanks.

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Jan 23Liked by Michelle Hoover

This is another great series, Michelle.

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