Narrative Structure Analysis example








To read about the basics of Narrative Structure, I would like to invite you to read this blog post.  To learn how the Narrative Structure works in stories, I have analyzed some early readers and chapter books which I found well crafted.

In this blog post, I share my analysis of two early reader chapter books with you.

Happy Paws (Layla and the Bots, book1) 

HAPPY PAWS (2020) is the first book in the Layla and the Bots series, written by Vicky Fang and illustrated by Christine Nishiyama

Here is my analysis of each chapter:

  1. This chapter introduces the characters (Layla and her bot friends).
  2. The reader learns that Layla has a big show in the Happy Days Amusement Park in five days. And, here comes the Inciting Incident: the park’s owner tells he has to close the park and there won’t be a show. Layla decides to find the reason. This is Plot Point I, when the main character reacts to the Inciting Event and the Beginning finishes.
  3. The Middle (or confrontation) comes in this chapter—Layla and the Bots look for the reason why people are less interested in the Happy Days Amusement Park and they find the reason.
  4. Layla shares her finding with the park’s owner but he already knew that Doggy Day Care was a sad place. This is the exact definition of Pinch Point I—where the character realizes that story’s problem is not easy to solve. Layla asks for time until Friday. A ticking clock is one of the classic ways to raise the Story Stake and increase the tension.
  5. Middle continues with Layla’s many ideas. Many ideas, no plan.
  6. She gets feedback from people on her ideas and finalizes her plan for building a place for dogs in the Park. This marks the Midpoint of the story.
  7. By Thursday night, all of her plans are done. But as you may guess, there should come a problem.
  8. One of Layla’s ideas (the Breezy car-coaster) didn’t get approved and the Park cannot open the dog section she and her Bots built. This is Plot Point II, when in spite of the character’s hard work something fails. The second part of the story, Middle, finishes in this chapter. The last three pages of this chapter are the End; Layla says she won’t give up. The reader doesn’t know if she fails or not, which increases the story’s tension.
  9. Layla’s plan successes and the Happy Days Amusement Park. So, she and her Bots can have their show. This was the Climax and the resolution of the story.


Yasmin the superhero (Yasmin series)

YASMIN THE SUPERHERO (2019) belongs to the YASMIN series, written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly.

Here is my analysis of each chapter:

  1. After reading a book, Yasmin decides to be a superhero. This marks the Inciting Incident of the story. Her grandparents help her with a cape and an eye mask and she leaves the house. These actions are Plot Point I when the Protagonist reacts to the Inciting Incident. The Beginning finishes by the end of chapter 1.
  2. This chapter corresponds to the Middle (or Confrontation). Yasmin searches for people who need her super-heroic help. 
  3. This chapter starts with Yasmin getting back home, exhausted and sad. She mumbles to her father that she isn’t a superhero. This is Plot Point II which is when the Protagonist thinks either all is lost or something important is lost. Middle ends. The End starts when Yasmin talks with her father about heroism. This is the Climax—the emotional moment when she faces the reality and she learns that evil villains are fictitious and she is a real hero. 

To check the Narrative structure of my manuscripts, I use this table

In the next blog post, I share my analysis of two chapter books.

I write blog posts about the craft of writing picture books (PictureBookPedia) and chapter books (ChapterBookPedia). Also, I publish a quarterly newsletter that includes links to my recent blog posts.


Posted in ChapterBookPedia, Craft.

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