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 Half-Blood Prince
Hook — The character’s starting point. This is the opposite of the Resolution.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — After Dumbledore come to the Dursleys, reads Sirius Black’s will (Harry inherits everything Sirius owned), and depart with Harry, they met with an old Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn, which Harry helps Dumbledore persuade to come back to Hogwarts. In the end, Professor Slughorn’s comeback to Hogwarts will prove to be vital, because through Professor Slughorn, Harry will receive the most valuable information through this 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 Half-Blood Prince — Harry become a member of Professor Slughorn’s club (which will prove to be important in his and Dumbledore’s attempts at retrieving a certain memory from Professor Slughorn). Harry also overhear Draco Malfoy tell his friends that he is a Death Eater now and may not come back to Hogwarts the following year is he manages to accomplish the mission he’s received from Voldemort. Harry also discover an old textbook on potions that once belonged to the Half-Blood Prince, and uses it to gain knowledge about potions (among other things).
Pinch point 1 — This is where more pressure is applied. This is often used to introduce the antagonist.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — Harry, Ron, and Hermione witness another student being cursed after touching a necklace. Harry suspects that Draco Malfoy is behind it because he saw the necklace in a shop at Diagon Alley where he also saw Malfoy enter in the beginning of the story. Draco Malfoy is the antagonist in this story (even though Snape is the one that kills Dumbledore, but we know, by now, that Snape killing Dumbledore was planned beforehand). Malfoy is the one with the mission to kill Dumbledore, and even though Voldemort is behind it, Malfoy is the one that constantly tries to kill the Headmaster.
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 Half-Blood Prince — In one of his private lessons with Dumbledore, Harry finds out that Tom Riddle (the young version of Voldemort) asked Professor Slughorn about Horcruxes. In this memory, Professor Slughorn yells that he knows nothing about them. But Dumbledore believes this memory is a lie and has been tampered with and asks Harry to retrieve the real memory. When Professor Slughorn realized what Harry wants, he does everything he can to avoid Harry. This leads to Harry focusing on investigating Malfoy by using the Marauder’s Map. Harry notices that Malfoy disappears off the map at certain times.
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 Half-Blood Prince — Harry realizes that the reason Malfoy disappears off the Marauder’s Map is because he enters the Room of Requirement. Harry tries to get into the room, but is unsuccessful because he doesn’t know what Malfoy uses the room for.
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 Half-Blood Prince — Harry finally get the real version of Professor Slughorn’s memory. It turns out the professor told Tom Riddle everything about Horcruxes, which explains why Voldemort survived the rebounding killing curse the night when he tried to kill the infant Harry. Dumbledore believed Voldemort made six Horcruxes.
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 Half-Blood Prince — After Harry and Dumbledore return to Hogwarts from the cave where they believed they found another of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, they discover the Dark Mark above the astronomy tower. Once inside the tower, Dumbledore paralyze Harry and hides him under the invisibility cloak. Malfoy reveals that he let the Death Eaters into the school through a pair of vanishing cabinets—one of which stands in the Room of Requirement—and that he has been trying to kill Dumbledore all year. But, Malfoy shows reluctance in killing the unarmed Dumbledore. Then Snape appears and kills Dumbledore. Harry pursues a fleeing Snape after this and fight him, in which Harry finds out that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. After Snape and Malfoy escape, Harry returns to Dumbledore’s body and discovers that the Horcrux was fake. Harry then reveals to Ron and Hermione that he won’t be coming back to Hogwarts, but that he will find and destroy the Horcruxes instead.
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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?
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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.