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Glossary: Story structure

Here's a list of definitions introduced during this lesson.
  • External feature: the clothes, design or look of a character.
  • Act One: consists of introducing the characters, introducing the story, and getting a landscape of where the story is trying to go
  • Act Two: consists of the choices and actions your main character makes as they attempt to overcome the escalating obstacles in pursuit of their goals
  • Act Three: consists of the final test of the protagonist and the resolution that follows; where the story comes together
  • Antagonist: is a force that gets in the way of your character’s wants and needs; typically “the villain”
  • Final Crisis/Climax: the most intense moment of the film for the protagonist who should be in danger of losing everything they value most; “the ultimate test”
  • Inciting Incident: an event which leads to a key obstacle your protagonist faces and sets the rest of the story in motion
  • Low Point: the point in the story when it seems like everything is lost for your main characters
  • Moral: the lesson that the main character learned at the end of the story
  • Point of No Return: a choice which the main character can never turn back
  • Resolution: the return of the world and characters to a calmer place, perhaps a more complete or better version of themselves
  • Story Beats: the most important moments in your story
  • Story Spine: a tool used to develop story beats following a simple pattern
  • Structure: the ordering of the events, or a sequence of beats, in the story
  • Theme: the idea that connects all the events in the story and is connected to the moral

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  • winston default style avatar for user Sean Ryan
    this course was very helpful in many ways and also fun, thank you i really enjoyed this course!
    (28 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Leila
    i am trying to figure out weather i should come up with my own story or not.
    (14 votes)
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    • boggle purple style avatar for user Crystal
      If you have the time to do so, why not? Earlier you said that you wanted to be an animator, and storytelling is a large part of that. If you practice making stories, you get better at it, and if you are good at storytelling, then the aspects and skills pour over into other areas.(Animation, art, teaching, music, etc.)
      (13 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user #sosickgirl!!!
    thank-you all of these amazing videos that helped me build up to new stories that I will soon publish
    (maybe)
    (13 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Kai Fahres
      I hope that you can reach that goal! Seriously, if you do publish a few of your stories you should feel very proud. And even if you don't you should still feel achieved. Try again if you don't make it at first, but have faith in yourself.
      (7 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user paulina.jurado.medina
    little by little closer to my dream!!
    ;)
    thank you so much <3
    (11 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Rebekah Dubon
    This lesson was really helpful. I'm writing a story and i really think that I have a better idea now.
    (10 votes)
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  • starky seed style avatar for user Salem Wolfe
    So... What's the difference between the "Low Point" and the "Final Crisis"?
    (6 votes)
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    • boggle purple style avatar for user Crystal
      Hi Salem.
      The low point is typically placed before the final crisis. The final crisis usually is more of a challenge or confrontation, whereas the low point is the moment all seems lost. In the transition between the two, a MC usually learns something new and gathers their courage.
      Hope this answers your question.
      (8 votes)
  • ohnoes default style avatar for user isaacmachacek
    I watch so many movies and sometimes I write about what happens in the movie because right now we have quarantine so I could watch a lot of movies with my fam.
    (9 votes)
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  • starky tree style avatar for user -OffNote-
    Thank you so much! I've been meaning to write a story about something that happened to me, but every time I tried to write it, I felt like it wasn't interesting. Through this, I learned how to structure it and develop my characters I'm using. I mean, really develop them! I'm proud of what I've done so far and I'm going to start my story. I hope that when I'm done the people who read it will feel what I felt through it and will be able to relate to what I'm writing about. I have many more things to go through in life, I'm only in high school, but they don't teach this kind of thing in school. This course has really helped me and I know it'll stick with me in the time to come. Thank you <3
    (7 votes)
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  • aqualine tree style avatar for user Sofia G
    I couldn't have made a good story without your advice, thank you sooooo much! peace!💞✌🏻
    (7 votes)
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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Prince J.
    If you have a story, can you be able to make it into a movie/short film in the future?
    (3 votes)
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    • male robot donald style avatar for user Tybalt
      Yes, though you may have to revise your structure and plot. All of your elements of storytelling would remain, but you would have to change some of your written story in order to have it translate well into a movie; you are delivering your story in a different format, after all.

      For instance, if you have a passage that describes scenery or a character's emotions, chances are that such passages would be translated into shots of the respective contents. For scenery, that would be a small shot of it. For emotions, they would be translated to expressions an actor makes.

      You may also need to condense your plot, depending on the length of your movie. Be careful if you need to do this; if you remove a major plot element, this changes the course of your story!

      Let me know if you need more advice.
      (5 votes)