First of all, I’m using a software package called Scrivener as it is very, very useful for writing long documents. It enables you to structure the content and research for each subject. I have separate files for each character and every location in which scenes are set. I also have a few pages of filled in questions about each character.
There are many fictional story plot structures available, but I am using a mixture of two or three of them for a private investigator scenario, as there are none available that I could find. Mine is as follows:
Act I: Set up:
– 1, The hook
– 2, Customer Meeting
– 3, The inciting incident
– 4, Plot turn 1
Act II: Conflict:
– 5, Pinch 1
– 6, Midpoint
– 7, Pinch 2
– 8, Plot turn 2
Act III: Resolution:
– 9, Stand back up
– 10, Climax
– 11, Aftermath, or review of events
This structure is fairly common and used in most films and novels.
Hook: A hook is the first few sentences in a story that will catch someone’s attention and keep them reading. Or, action at the beginning of a film that is exciting. Somewhat like James Bond and StarWars movies.
Customer Meeting: This is the meeting that the private investigator has with the client explaining their problem. Clearly relevant to my stories.
Inciting Incident: An inciting incident is an event that literally makes the hero or protagonist of the story interact with the problem that has just arisen.
Plot Turn 1 & 2: The plot turns are just the times that new information comes to light and things change. Such that the suspects change and different things make an impact.
Pinch 1 & 2: The pinches are bad news for the protagonist and things go wrong and the antagonist, which is the bad guys, gets the better is some way.
Midpoint: The midpoint is just the protagonist’s changed life and getting used to it, including new normal things happening.
Stand Back Up: This is where the hero of the story has been pushed down so low that you think the game is over. The attitude of the hero is inevitably strong-willed and relentless. The protagonist is apparently getting ready for a massive conflict.
Climax: The battle where the hero and the antagonist are in a fight for right and wrong. A lot of the time there is a murder attempt and an inventing escape by the good guys.
Aftermath and Review of Events: This is after the battle where the opponent has been found and beaten by the protagonist. While the police turn up the protagonist questions the antagonist to explain events and reasons for them. Also, an opportunity for the hero to fill in where they knew things were headed. Indeed, the Police finally turn up, and further explanation is imparted to the DCI, detective chief inspector of CID, criminal investigation department.