I konw I’m a bit late with this post, but I want to give the news once more: lovely Katie Weiland finally uncovered her secret! She’s given us writers a new invaluable resource to learn art&craft of beautiful, compelling stories. The Story Structure Database is finally online, and I’m sure I’m going to spend a lot of my writer’s time head-down, digging in there to discover the treasure in each story.
How to learn Story Structure in three easy and enjoyable steps:
- Read a good book about it. I highly recommend Ms. Weiland’s Structuring your Novel or Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering.
- Read a lot of novels, watch tons of movies.
- Do your own breakdowns.
I made my submission to Katie’s database, too: as I’m a mom, I mixed my passions (writing and watching cartoons with my son) and made the breakdown of the most touching cartoon ever, Dean Deblois’s How to train your Dragon! Ok, let’s say the truth: It’s me who loves the movie even more than my son does. I love the story and I think I could repeat it by heart.
I’m pleased to announce that my submission has been accepted by Ms. Weiland 😀 !
Credits before we go: How to train your Dragon’s breakdown has already been done, obviously. Mine started to form in my mind after I watched this video on Youtube. My analysis is slightly different from Darius’s, but the main points are more or less the same, because the story structure is quite clear. I recommend to watch Darius’ video, compare and make your own considerations.
Here’s it for you. Please share in the comments your opinion and possibly your personal breakdown.
How to train your Dragon, Movie, by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Short Summary of Plot:
Hiccup, a hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons, becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed (this is the official movie logline)
Inciting Event (12% mark):
Hiccup finds in the forest the Night Fury he has knocked down, but is not able to kill him. Most important, he realizes he’ll never be able to kill a dragon.
First Plot Point (25% mark):
Hiccup touches Toothless for the first time and their friendship begins: the most touching scene of both HTTYD movies. Hiccup decides he will secretly work to make Toothless fly again.
First Pinch Point (37% mark):
Hiccup is forced by his father Stoik to attend the young Vikings training to slay dragons, which is exactly the last thing he wants to do, at the moment
Midpoint (50% mark)
The first flight of Hiccup and Toothless together: they can fly ONLY together as a whole and have their first crazy ride. A big success for both.
Second Pinch Point (62% mark)
Thanks to all the things he’s learning from Toothless, Hiccup is the best of his class and wins the “honor” to kill a dragon in front of the whole village.
Third Plot Point (75% mark)
The truth blows in the face of Hiccup: in the arena he refuses to kill a dragon, Toothless comes to save him and is thus discovered and captured. The lie is now in front of everybody and Hiccup is disowned by Stoik. As Astrid says in the movie, he’s lost everything: his best friend, his father, his tribe.
Climax (90% mark)
Hiccup makes a plan to free Toothless and save his tribe from the Queen Dragon. He teaches the other young Vikings to ride dragons and they leave Berk together to reach the battle field.
Riding Toothless, who has been freed by a very sorry Stoik, Hiccup defeat the Queen Dragon at the risk of their own lives. Big, heroic final battle.
The Queen Dragon is killed, the tribe is safe, Stoik recognize the value of his brilliant and brave son, the Vikings learn that dragons are gentle and loyal creatures. Toothless and Hiccup live together happily ever (…maybe…)
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What about you? Go watch the movie and tell me about your feelings and your breakdown.
Give also your own advice on how to learn story structure.
Thanks for reading!