Introduction to Story Structure

August 31, 2016

Today, I'm writing about story structure. As long as i learn about narrative design, i will try to share them. First, I'm gonna explain what the story structure, then add my structure analysis of my favourite animation movie. Hope you enjoy it. Let's start..


A story should be defined in a single theme which named spine, logline or througline. A spine of a story is the primary theme of what the story is about, what it's basically trying to say at its core. If you are a good story teller, you should be able to sum up your story by one or two sentences. The spine is significant because the story designer has a central concept to make sure all the elements of the story serve that concept.


Almost every stories are told through what's called the three-act structure. The first is Act-1 which is the set up. In the set up, we introduce the protagonist who is the main character of the story and the antagonist who is responsible to block and stand against our main character. Then we talk about the environment, outside world, where the story begins. This part ends with the inciting incident which is the event that sets off the primary conflict between the protagonist and antagonist.


In Act 2 which is called the confrontation, we see all the action of the conflict. The tension rises, events occurs. Each event happening should build upon the last and amplify the tension and danger. Our protagonist begin to face many obstacles. Probably it is the longest part of the story. The audience begins to question and wonder the next. It keeps the story catchy. Protagonist and antagonist face each other to resolve the conflict. We see the final battle in the end of the act 2.


Finally, Act 3, named the resolution. A good story will resolve the conflict in a super satisfying way for the audience. Usually we see the hero defeat he villain and justice comes. It does not have to end up with good moments always, but it does usually.


Now, i'm presenting my analysis of the movie Justice League: The Flash Point Paradox.


The Spine: 

Little Barry Allen's mother was murdered when he was young and Barry has grown up with her gap inside his heart. Now, he is the fastest man live, known as the Flash who fights crime and injustice. However, his missing is unbearable, so he decides to bring her back to life by running fast enough to change the time line. He goes to the past, saves his mother (which is the inciting incident), and finally she is alive in the present time. However, corrupting the time line causes that the whole world changes and crime rate are worst than before. The end of the world gets closer and he wants to stop it.


Set Up:

Our main character, Barry Allen is the protagonist of the story. Moreover, Batman, Superman, Shazam, Cyborg and some other characters are protagonist. On the other hand, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and many characters of the universe look evil because of their actions. However, the actual antagonist is Zoom. The events occurs in DC Universe world which looks just like our world, but Barry saves his mother and the time line is broken, the super heroes who people used to believe in fight each other, there is a global war and the end of the world is so close. The critical point that nothing is the way it's supposed to be. Dead people lives, bad characters do good and good characters do evil. Barry wants to stop this all and to fix the time line, however, his archenemy Zoom tries to stop him because he wants to watch the new world created by Barry destroy.



Barry Allen aka The Flash tries to contact his friends from the Justice League. However, there is no Justice League in the changed world. First, he finds Batman who is Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne of the original world. He is the second main character and protagonist of the story. He helps Barry to find other characters of the protagonist side. Their goal is to unite and to stop the greatest war which is between Wonder Woman and Aquaman. As the story goes, Wonder Woman wants to kill every man in the world. Her obstacle is Aquaman because he wants to destroy the people of Amazon. He and she has a backstory telling that why they are archenemies of each other. So their only will is killing each other. The war between them affects the world and nobody can stand against it. People get killed, cities gets destroyed, life is almost end up. So, Barry and his fellows team up. They jump into the war and try to kidnap Wonder Woman and Aquaman. They think that without leaders the war probably stops.


Next, the antagonist shows up and try to stop Barry. Barry fights Zoom and wants to get the original time back. Normally, Barry is able to change the time line by his speed force but Zoom is also a speedster and faster than Barry. Barry can't use the speed force because Zoom absorbs his force. He realises that he can't get the original time back and beat Zoom. He sees the price of saving his mother and accepts his mistake. He fights Zoom to beat him till all his power is spent. During this happens, all good heroes get killed, all cities get destroyed. Wonder Woman gets the victory but Aquaman releases the power which erases the whole planet. Barry watches how the world vanishes step by step.



Our second protagonist Thomas Wayne aka Batman kills Zoom and there is no more speedster except Barry. Barry uses speed force, runs to change the line and bring back the original time in his last seconds. He achieves and everything goes back to normal.


Why This Story:

I am obsessed with changing the past with a similar reason, just like Barry. This is one of the best comic book stories i have ever seen. The characters and their back stories are redesigned very well. In the last minutes of the film, you ask yourself why your eyes become so cloudy.


The story gives you a great lesson.


"Accept the things you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can... and have the wisdom to know the difference." - Nora Allen, The Flash Point Paradox



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