Vary story structure with ‘fate plot’

Another variation on the traditional five-part story structure is the fate plot.

In a fate plot, the climax occurs at the beginning of story. The rest of story is a traditional tale that essentially is a flashback, showing and explaining how the climax was reached. The end of the story is the resolution, which finally brings us back to “real time” or the moments after the climax/opening scene.

The main advantage of the fate plot is that it varies up the structure in an anthology of stories about a single character. It is particularly effective when the main character makes a decision that would be shockingly out of character. For that reason, television series often are able to use the fate plot to much better effect than short story writers or novelists.

When writing a fate plot, be sure to follow a couple of guidelines:
• What happens in the climax/opening scene must be pertinent to the main character – Usually something bad happens to the main character, but it also could be an event that somehow involves that person.
• Skim over the climax after you complete the rising action – Once the story arrives at the climax, that part often is quickly covered – as the reader already knows what will happen – and in short order enters the falling action/denouement.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.