Story Structure Series: The W Plot

What if you could stop worrying about plot points and pinch points and still tell a good story?

What if you could divide your story into phases and focus on one phase at a time?

What if you had a plot structure that helped you visualize your character's emotional journey?

Writers who use three-act structure love it, because it has all the right twists and turns--in the right place--for building a story that satisfies readers.

The Hero's Journey is the same way. It's fantastic for certain types of stories...

...but if you're not writing one of those story types, you'll struggle to make your story work.

There is another structure...

...a simpler, more flexible storytelling structure...

...made up of 10 simple phases that take your character through a complete emotional journey.

It does have a few plot points, but they're more open than the plot points you find in three-act structure or in the Hero's Journey.

This story structure allows you to draw a simple map of your story...that doubles as a map of your character's emotional journey.

(That's my favorite thing about it.)

It doesn't get as much attention as three-act structure or the Hero's fact, it's often overlooked by writers.


I'm not sure, but I have a theory.

Because when I first tried this story structure, I made a mistake.

A mistake that ruined my story.

There are a couple different ways to interpret this structure...and the most common ones encourage you to fall into bad storytelling habits.

Like easing off on your story's conflicts.

Or forgetting to raise the stakes.

It took a lot of experimenting for me to see why this structure wasn't working for me...

...but once I discovered the right way to use it, I fell in love with it.

It's so powerful in the way that it sets up each phase of your character's struggle.

But it's so flexible, it makes brainstorming a joy.

I'm going to show you how it works in...

Story Structure Series, Episode One

The W Plot

When you sign up for this course:

I'll walk you through each of the ten phases of the W plot.

I'll give you a visual metaphor for this story structure that will make your character's emotional journey incredibly clear. (This emotional journey is built in to the structure -- even if your character doesn't have a growth arc!)

I'll explain what your character will experience in each phase.

I'll give you brainstorming questions that lead you through the decisions you must make for your character at each phase in the story.

And I'll plot a complete short story while you watch over my shoulder, so you can see exactly how this structure works.

If you're a plotter, you'll love the flexibility of this powerful storytelling structure...

...the phases make it easy to organize even a complex story into a sequence of events that flow logically and ramp up conflict (and reader tension).

If you're a pantser, you'll appreciate the gentle guidance this storytelling structure offers...

...just tap into the emotional experience suggested by each phase and let your characters do the rest.

I can hardly wait to share this wonderful tool with you...and I'm looking forward to hearing your questions as you create your next story using The W Plot!

Best wishes,


Get started now!

Your Instructor

Bonnie Johnston
Bonnie Johnston

Bonnie Johnston is a writing mentor and award-winning author with a passion for teaching fiction writers how to increase the emotional impact of their stories to turn readers into fans.

She blogs at Write Smarter, Not Harder, where you can download her free ebook, Editing for Story.

She's also the author of The 30 Day Novel Workbook, The 30 Day Romance Novel Workbook, and The Writer's Guide to Getting Organized.

Bonnie would love to teach you her methods for plotting organically, creating archetypal characters, planning a series, making setting a character in your story, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
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