On the hunt to understand why my stories kept breaking down, I stumbled onto the idea that stories can be broken down into roughly equal Four Zones. See my previous post Story Structure Breakdown for a high-level look at Four Zone Story Structure as presented by one of my favorite teachers Lisa W Miller in her Story Safari class.
This post will define Zone 1, the first quarter of the story.
Zone 1 covers the first one-fourth of the story and is the Set-Up of the story. This part introduces the reader to the main character and the ordinary world they live in. This section prepares the reader for the ride they're about to go on in Zones 2 - 4. It introduces the reader to the protagonist, what's at stake in the story, the main theme, a foreshadowing of the antagonist conflict and protagonist's backstory, and challenges the protagonist's normal life.
There are a few important events that happen in this Zone 1. The Hook, Inciting Incident, Call to Action, Defining Moment, and First Plot Point. Below is a quick description of each piece.
I personally find the first zone one of my favorites because the story is new and interesting typically without being personally life-threatening for the protagonist. Yet. 🙂
Since I'm starting to write again, I am hyper-focused on this section and unraveling its mysteries. My main reason why is that I want to hook readers and keep them turning the pages into the next zone.
Have you ever noticed these pieces during the first quarter of a book or movie? Sadly, for my husband, I do all the time and make small comments about where we are in the story arch.
From a budding story structure nerd,
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