The 7 Key Steps of Story Structure

1. WEAKNESS

2. DESIRE

3. OPPONENT

4. PLAN

5. BATTLE

6. SELF-REVELATION

7. NEW-EQUILIBRIUM

“The seven steps are not arbitrarily imposed from without the way three-act structure is. They exist in the story. These seven steps are the nucleus – the DNA – of your story and the foundation of your success as a storyteller because they are based on human action.They are the steps that any human being must work through to solve a life problem.”

(p40)

2 comments

  1. Hi. I liked Truby’s book a lot when I read it, and I like the ideas that are immediately provoked by these 7 keywords years later. I do worry that it’s a little simplistic to presume that 3 Acts are *always* applied arbitrarily and reductively (surely we all work a little differently?), but thanks for posting this. It’s inspired me to reread the book.

    • Sure, I hear you. I’ve been writing with 3 ACT structure for 7 years. 2 years ago I finally found Truby’s book and it was – and still is – a revelation. Not because of these 7 steps but because of his teaching on character arc and the self-revelation (moral + psychological) of the hero. Now I’ve decided to try to break away from 3 act structure and try to learn Truby’s more complex 22 steps. It is a tricky structure, but in the book he takes us through the steps with films like CASABLANCA and TOOTSIE to guide us. I can see how 3 act structure works but I’m hoping Truby’s 22 steps leads me through the writing process within a deeper structure. If nothing his teaching on moral vision and self revelations is worth the book alone. The book itself is a masterpiece on story structure.

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