SKELETON STRUCTURE EXAMPLES: Knowing What Is Right for Your Writing

In Episode 2: Building Your Story Skeleton, I discuss setting up a pertinent skeleton structure for your writing: an overriding skeleton frame for the bones to be added and arranged within.  But what constitutes a “pertinent skeleton structure” depends on the type of writing you are going to be doing.

Here are three easy and common examples of skeleton structures to demonstrate what I am talking about, and what you needs to be considering when creating each of these structures.


RECIPES: A step-by-step guide skeleton

Recipes have a strict, recognizable structure that must be presented in a specific manner to be clearly and quickly understood. A recipe takes the following classic structure:

        • The necessary ingredients and measurements need to be listed first.
        • The various steps involved in preparing and baking/cooking are featured next, in clear sequential orders.
        • Additional serving directives will appear last.


FICTION: A cause-and-effect storytelling skeleton

If you’re telling a story, you will have to think through the sequence of events, especially key elements that need to be correctly ordered for the story to make sense.  The specificity of the bones will vary greatly and subjectively, but a fairly typical overarching skeleton structure for fiction may look like this:

        • Introduction of Characters/Impetus of Conflict
        • Character development and Tension Building (Strategic, Sequential, Cause-and-Effect Information, Events, and Circumstances)
        • Climax
        • Denouement


NEWSLETTERS: A hierarchical, information-based skeleton

The focus of a newsletter is the expedient communication of information, with the key information spotlighted.  Therefore, the structure of your skeleton is dictated by your outcome needs.  You will need to

        • Prioritize the announcements to ensure that the most important information appears first.
        • Arrange or cluster remaining information by descending importance.


There are of course numerous other skeleton structures, but these three examples give you an idea of what you need to be thinking about when creating your own.

So, look at the nature of the writing you are doing and ask yourself what structural elements are pertinent and important.  By doing so, you’ll be able to create an overall skeleton structure that is right for your writing project, and the bones that they will house.

For more on the skeleton structuring process, watch EPISODE 2, BUILDING YOUR STORY SKELETON: How to Structure Your Topic Ideas Before You Begin Writing.

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