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 Goblet of Fire
Hook — The character’s starting point. This is the opposite of the Resolution.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — After the debacle Voldemort’s Death Eaters caused in the Quidditch World Cup, Harry and the others learn of the Triwizard Tournament when they have arrive at Hogwarts. Even though there has already been much conflict in the story prior to arriving at Hogwarts, the Triwizard Tournament is this story’s main conflict and therefore the hook of the story.
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 Goblet of Fire — Harry’s name is drawn from the goblet, mysteriously so because underaged students were not allowed to enter their names in the cup. Dumbledore and the other professors believe Voldemort is behind it. Still, it is decided that Harry will have to compete in the Triwizard Tournament because his name was drawn. The Triwizard Tournament is Harry’s journey through this story.
Pinch point 1 — This is where more pressure is applied. This is often used to introduce the antagonist.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — Professor Moody gives Harry some advice before the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. It seems like Moody has a harmless need to help Harry during the difficulties of the Triwizard Tournament. However, Moody isn’t who everyone thinks he is, and in the end it’s revealed that he’s actually plotting to get Harry to win the Tournament so that Harry will face Voldemort once again (presenting Moody’s interest in helping Harry is like presenting an antagonistic force in disguise). The Triwizard Tournament then begins with a dangerous task of defeating a dragon. Harry uses his broom to outfly the dragon, ultimately managing to get his hands on the golden egg the dragon was protecting.
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 Goblet of Fire — Shortly after the Yule Ball, Cedric Diggory gives Harry a hint about the golden egg, saying that he should take a bath with it. This doesn’t really represent a fight against the antagonist because the story is more about the dangers of the Triwizard Tournament than Harry’s fight against Voldemort. However, by figuring out the secret of the egg, Harry can continue on his journey through the Tournament which will ultimately send him to Voldemort.
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 Goblet of Fire — In the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry face Merpeople in order to rescue a loved one (Harry’s loved one in this task is Ron). Fleur, another contestant in the Tournament, doesn’t seem to arrive to aid her sister, and Harry refuses to leave Fleur’s sister behind even though the Merpeople tell him to do so. He just about avoids drowning. Not long after this second task, Barty Crouch has disappeared (little does everyone know he’s dead).
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 Goblet of Fire — The third and final task in the Triwizard Tournament is a dangerous maze the contestants have to go through in search for the Cup. Harry and Diggory take the Cup together so that both of them would win. However, the Cup turns out to be a portkey that sends them to an old cemetery. There, Wormtail (aka Peter Pettigrew) kills Cedric Diggory, leaving Harry frozen with shock and horror.
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 Goblet of Fire — Even though Harry’s duel with Voldemort is the most exciting moment in the story, and emotionally charged because Harry sees his parents’ spirits spill out of Voldemort’s wand, the climactic turn actually happens when Harry uses the Cup as a portkey to escape the cemetery. Once back at Hogwarts, the true climax is when Professor Moody is discovered to not be who he seems to be. He is, in fact, Barty Crouch Jr., one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Barty Crouch Jr. is captured and the real Moody is freed.
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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 or Microsoft Word template that will help you with your story’s structure?
The Story Structure 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.