on Helping Writers become Authors:
Structural timing is one of most prominent features of story structure. This positioning of a story’s important turning points is one of the keys for creating a story that feels right to audiences. As often as not, when something seems off about a story, the problem can be narrowed down to wonky structural timing. This makes structural timing one of the most accessible tools writers can use to troubleshoot weak areas of a story.
However, structural timing is also an aspect of story structure that many writers find frustrating or confusing. How are you supposed to time a story when even you may not be sure how long the finished draft will be? Doesn’t following a precise map for a story’s timing mean your story is more likely to feel formulaic to readers? And, perhaps most commonly, just how precise does a story’s structural timing have to be?