Monday, September 24, 2012
A pinch point can be a lot of things. The spot where a road's lanes converge into one, or the the spot on a machine where two parts might come together to squish a body part. But when it comes to story structure, a pinch point can be summed up in one word: PRESSURE.
There are a lot of opinions on what the perfect story structure can be. Dan Wells talks about a seven-point system, another blog outlines The Hunger Games in nine parts, and if you Google story structure parts, you come up with approximately 95,200,000 results.
Pinch points are a pretty universal concept, however.
Usually there are two pinch points in a story. The first one is what starts off all of the action: when danger is introduced, or the character loses everything and suddenly needs to go out against the world to fight back for... whatever. It's a spot that forces the character to react, usually in a really harsh way.
The second pinch point comes later on in the story, after the main character has a plan of action—or barring that, at least after the character has decided that they really do want to fight and take a stand. The second pinch in the story is the heartbreaker—after the character has decided to take a stand, they have to lose something dear to them, whether that be a mentor, a loved one (or several loved ones!) or just all sense of hope. This pinch is what really gets the audience rallying for you. Because once you've lost everything you had left (even if it's only momentarily) coming back from that is what makes a true hero.
graduated with a Literature degree from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She has worked as a freelance writer and as an editor for Drollerie Press, and she is the co-founder of Type Set, Inc, an editing and formatting service. She’s currently working on a YA fantasy novel, but in the meantime she publishes a new short story for free every other Friday at Tales From the Hollow Tree, a fiction blog she shares with author Isabelle Santiago.
Posted by Lisa Asanuma at 5:00 AM