How to Improve Story Structure for a Better Novel

Anyone looking to improve story structure in their novel would do well to consider Russian nesting dolls.

On the surface, a Russian nesting doll is a simple painted wooden figurine. But when you remove the top from the base, you find another smaller doll of exactly the same shape. Then you open that doll and find another, and another, until you end up with five or six individual dolls. Each is painted differently, but in terms of shape, each is a smaller version of exactly what came before.

The same applies if you want to improve story structure in fiction. We know the basics of story structure: The inciting incident launches rising action, which builds to a climax before descending into falling action and, in the end, denouement. But what we often don’t realize is…