Monster Structure Worksheet v1.1

Major updates to the Monster Structure Worksheet!

Scroll down to download full PDF

What is the MSW? It’s a combination of novel structure theories into one chart to help you visualize what-all is supposed to happen and when.

I’ve been reading K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel [amazon asin=0985780401&template=add to cart] and I highly recommend it. It’s a great step-by-step walk-through of  the parts of story structure.

Weiland made something clear for me. There are Turning Points, and there are what she called Pinch Points.

Turning Points

Most theories identify two Turning Points, sometimes called Points of No Return. Once these moments happen, the protagonist can never go back to the way things were. They can’t turn back and opt out of the story. These points usually mark the changes between the three Acts.

Pinch Points

I’d heard the term Pinch Point before, but it had always been conflated with Turning Point. Weiland makes them two very different things. A Pinch Point is a point that

showcases the antagonist, either personally or in some manifestation that emphasizes his power and his potential ability to defeat the protagonist. (location 1247)

Basically, this:

You know, if Xena were the bad guy.

Makes sense, right? You want points where your antagonist flexes their muscle and looks duly threatening.

Weiland reckons you want these at the 3/8 and 5/8 markers. My Monster Structure Worksheet is broken down into 16 parts, but I was able to place the Pinch Points in roughly the same places. I felt it was important that the Second Pinch Point come at 10, not immediately after the Midpoint (8).


Weiland also made an excellent point about the general thrust/motivation of the protagonist’s actions on either side of the Midpoint.

Between Turning Point 1 (5) and the Midpoint (8) the protagonist is reacting to what happened to them in the first Turning Point. They’re playing defense, trying to survive.

In the Midpoint, the protagonist has a bunch of internal transformations, including the realization that they need to stop reacting and start acting proactively, be offensive.

This offensive style lasts from the Midpoint through Turning Point 2 (12) as the Climax begins.

I’ve represented these changes with rounded arcs on the left-hand side of the chart. A reminder more than anything else.

The New Worksheet Download

The new PDF comes with a full-color guide explaining all the things each point is supposed to accomplish, and a clear white worksheet you can fill in with your own notes.

Download the PDF here: MonsterStructure 2016 06 11

Have you used the worksheet and found it helpful? Leave a comment below!

Photo: Beastly by David Goehring


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