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The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks

The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks

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The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks

92 pages
39 minutes
Jun 28, 2013


Every storyteller has a plan, however vague it is.

The writer will start with an idea which may be wrapped around a character, an event or a theme. In the process of developing the idea, the storyteller shapes a framework of sorts. This book provides common frameworks that have been used since stories came to be an important part of culture, education, and entertainment.

The popular heroic journey, one of the frameworks included, is an essential plot that numerous writers have used whether consciously or not. It offers opportunity for originality while meeting the reader’s desire for more of this type of story.

This book provides seventeen such frameworks, broken into three general types:
• traditional (ex. dream vision)
• fairytale (ex. sleeping beauty)
• character-design (ex. code hero)

Each framework is explained in simple terms and is followed by a worksheet to help the writer develop the initial idea into a plot. Included in the description of each framework are suggestions about how to tweak for freshness.

Every storyteller has a plan. What’s yours?

Jun 28, 2013

About the author

L. Darby Gibbs has been publishing science fiction novels since 2011. She has a five-book time travel series called Students of Jump. Since 2018, Gibbs has been writing fantasy, and has three series out: Solstice Dragon World (four standalone books), Standing Stone (four series books), and her newest Kavin Cut Chronicles (a trilogy in progress).Gibbs is a teacher of writing and published a non-fiction reference book of traditional story plots titled THE LITTLE HANDBOOK OF OF NARRATIVE FRAMEWORKS in 2013.Gibbs enjoys going to the theater, reading, traveling and spending time with her family and pets. She has been married more than thirties years, has one child and a Labrador. She lives in the United States and has lived in several states north, east, west and south. Though born on the east coast, her roots are buried deepest in Southern California.

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The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks - L. Darby Gibbs


Heroic Journey

Organizing your novel or story around a narrative framework can help your story follow a reliable organization and ensure you maintain your reader's interest. The heroic journey is a great narrative structure to follow and is one of the most popular in use, just check out every Pixar movie.

The heroic journey calls for several elements and in a fairly standard order. There are variants in the structure, but the one listed below is in common use.

1. The main character, in this case the average Joe or Jolene (potential hero) arrives on the scene.

2. An event which forces Joe to leave his home and go in search of something important occurs. This is known as the call to adventure. The event can be falling in love, having someone he cares about become sick, a favor asked for by someone, something taken away he must retrieve, or a trick used to get him out of the way.

3. What Joe needs can be a magic item, forgiveness, a physical quality, knowledge, a person, any number of things, a.k.a., the boon.

4. He need not go alone. He may bring along friends (known as companions) to aid him in acquiring his boon. The companions come in several archetypes: the simpleton, the loyal friend, the trickster, the guide, and there are many others. They also can be acquired in the course of the journey.

5. Frequently, the hero is not recognized as a hero, but he/she may already have a secret weapon. This is known as a talisman and is used to give the hero strength. It can be anything you can imagine: an object, a physical quality, intelligence, an innocent token carried for sentimental reasons, or an inherited object. The talisman must play an important role in the course of the journey, though it starts out innocent of any

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