The classic story structure which has had a resurgence follows a simple formula.
Action. The story should always begin in the middle of the action. Find the point at the beginning when things are changing and start there. Action pulls the reader into the “now” of the story and invests a sense of curisousity about where it is going.
Staging. Set the stage but don’t overdress it to the point we can’t see the action. Give enough information to place teh character and give context to their actions and why we should care.
Conflict. This is about what the protagonist desperately wants. That without which the protagonist life isn’t worth living. Conflict is story. Without conflict there is no story.
Escalation. The pursuit of the want must be met with failure and increasingly difficult attempts to reach it. It is the journey to reach what one wants against all obstacles.
Crisis. This is the point that the character must make a choice between what was or what they want and the consequences of their choice. The most dramatic point in the entire story.
Climax. This is the point of no return when the character must give everything or fail completely. This is where the story is resolved.
Consequences. The outcome of the climax. How has the world changed because of the protagonist’s choices and final outcome.