How to Build a Story in 20 Easy Steps (Guest Post by Author Toni Pike)…

Build House

  1. Surprise your readers with twists and turns, provided you keep heading towards that big climax.
  1. Add plenty of suspense, the feeling that something is about to happen, so that readers want to turn every page.
  1. Decide on the mood of the story, the way it makes the reader feel – sad or cheerful, scared or angry, despairing or hopeful.
  1. Choose the central question that the story will resolve.
  1. Hook readers with an opening surprise and then take your time to reel them in.
  1. Reveal the place, time, mood and point of view in the first chapter.
  1. At the 10% point, steer events in a particular direction so that the hero finds a goal.
  1. After the first 10%, let your hero start to explore their new goal.
  1. The climax of the first act is at the 25% point. Have a major event to push the hero in a new direction with a more specific goal.
  1. At the 37.5% point, have a mini-moment that mirrors the final resolution and shows the hero’s growth.
  1. The halfway point is a point of no return. The hero must burn the bridges they have already crossed.
  1. Just after the mid-point, have a lighter moment that shows how the hero is changing.
  1. As the story progresses, the hero finds the goal harder to achieve and it will take everything they have, but that only increases their resolve.
  1. The climax of the second act is at the 75% point. All hope is lost and the hero almost gives up until one event changes everything and gives them a bigger and better goal.
  1. As the third act progresses, intensify the action.
  1. The hero must give up almost everything in pursuit of the final goal.
  1. The climax of the third act is at the 95% point, the ultimate moment when your hero confronts the nemesis.
  1. In the all-important climax, the hero resolves the outer conflict – the physical challenge – and achieves, or fails to achieve, their goal.
  1. After the climax, the hero must complete the battle to win the war.
  1. Finish with the resolution, where loose ends are tied up and the hero’s life is changed forever.

Toni Pike

Toni 10


My thriller The Magus Covenant is now available at these online stores:

COVER_Magus Covenant


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Reviews are coming in from around the world.


The fate of the world is in the hands of one man and the covenant holds the key.

The Reverend Jotham Fletcher is in Rome to give a lecture on his PhD thesis about Simon Magus at the church where he fell to his death beside the Roman Forum. Magus was a cult leader mentioned in the Bible and his libertine sect disappeared by 400 AD.

But did it really die out?

A robed man is pushed from the belltower of the church at midnight and Jotham becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumours fly about a papyrus scroll that mentions Magus. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for the Simonian Sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.

Jotham is kidnapped, tortured and on the run. He races from Italy to England to Sweden. But the body count continues to rise and so does the heat in this non-stop thriller that will leave you breathless.


24 thoughts on “How to Build a Story in 20 Easy Steps (Guest Post by Author Toni Pike)…

  1. Some great tips here Toni I never realised how technical it can become at certain points for example 37.5%! A very helpful post for all writers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Author Toni Pike with 20 steps to build a story.. I am a particular fan of the last one.. I really do not like a story, film or television drama that ends with loose ends flapping around all over the place. Cliffhangers are fine provided you don’t have to wait two years to get the next installment.. Thanks Toni and of course The Story Reading Ape..

    Liked by 2 people


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