Case studies, I think, are a great way to learn the structure of stories. So, let’s get down to business.
Warning: There are spoilers below. If you don’t want to know more about this story, you should stop reading this post.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Hook — The character’s starting point. This is the opposite of the Resolution.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Dobby the house-elf visits Harry and tells Harry that terrible things will happen at Hogwarts if Harry goes there. To ensure that Harry can’t go to Hogwarts, Dobby wreaks havoc and Harry is locked up by his relatives who also bar his windows. Harry is then rescued by his friend Ron and the Weasley twins.
Plot turn 1 — The event that sets the story in motion and moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. The conflict is introduced and the character’s world changes. This is basically when the character sets out on his/her journey.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — After missing the train to Hogwarts, Ron and Harry take the flying car to school. Ron loses control over the car and they crash into the Whomping Willow on the school grounds. Harry and Ron get detention because of this incident, and it’s when Harry serves his detention that he hears strange voices—voices no one else can hear. Shortly after, Mrs. Norris, the school caretaker’s cat, is found petrified. On a wall is a message written in blood: ”The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.” Harry is now fully engaged into the conflict of the story.
Pinch point 1 — This is where more pressure is applied. This is often used to introduce the antagonist.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Harry’s arm is broken during a Quidditch match by a rogue Bludger. While in hospital, Dobby appears and admits he was responsible for Harry not getting on the train to Hogwarts and for the rogue Bludger. He did it in an effort to save Harry from further danger, and he says the Chamber of Secrets has been opened before. This is when Harry sees the first petrified student.
Midpoint — The character moves from reaction to action. He/she determines he/she must do something to stop the antagonist.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Harry, Ron, and Hermione work on a Polyjuice Potion in a bathroom where the ghost Moaning Myrtle lives. Harry and Ron infiltrate Slytherin disguised as Crabbe and Goyle and find out that the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds Tom Riddle’s diary and discovers by communicating with the diary that a friend of Tom (implied to be Hagrid) was found opening the Chamber fifty years ago.
Pinch point 2 — This is where even more pressure is applied. The story takes the ultimate dive. The character is at his/her darkest moment. He/she has lost everything.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — After Hermione is found petrified, Harry and Ron are on their own and go to Hagrid to find the truth. Once there, Hagrid is accused by the Ministry of opening the Chamber of Secrets again and is arrested and taken away to Azkaban. While Hagrid is taken away, he tells Harry and Ron to follow the spiders. When they do, they come across a giant spider called Aragog. Aragog reveal that Hagrid is innocent and that the body of the girl who was killed fifty years ago was found in a bathroom. Harry and Ron then escape the flock of giant spiders, who were instructed by Aragog to eat them.
Plot turn 2 — Here the story moves from Midpoint to the end, the Resolution. The character gets or realizes he/she has the final piece of information to achieve what he/she set out to do in the Midpoint.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Harry and Ron discover a piece of paper in Hermione’s hand that says that the monster that attack the students is a basilisk. They then discover that the basilisk has used the plumbing system in Hogwarts to move around, and that the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets is in Myrtle’s bathroom. Harry opens the Chamber by speaking Parseltongue.
Resolution — This is the climax of the story. Everything in the story leads to this moment. Here, the character achieves (or fails to achieve) what he/she set out to do.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Inside the Chamber of Secrets, Harry find Ginny, the final victim of the basilisk, and the almost physical form of Tom Riddle. Riddle reveal that by possessing Ginny’s soul, he began to take physical form. He then also reveal that he is, in fact, the younger version of Voldemort before he changed his name. Harry then fights and kills the basilisk before he destroys the diary with a basilisk fang, killing Tom Riddle in the process. After this climactic event, Harry frees Dobby from Lucius Malfoy, Hermione is un-petrified, and Hagrid returns to Hogwarts.
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There you have it. Hopefully it’s helped you to see how the Seven Point Story Structure works.
Do you think case studies of stories are a great way to learn story structure? Do you have any thoughts on this case study?
Do you want a Scrivener template that will help you with your story’s structure?
The Story Structure Scrivener Template is designed to help you create and develop your story and its structure.
It includes a template for the Three Act Structure, one for the Seven Point Story Structure, and one for The Hero’s Journey structure so that you easily create or develop your story from the structure you like best.