The title of this post is really self-explanatory. I’ve picked 10 books/series that I think are not only interesting to read, but are good examples of story structure, and organized them into a list for you. I will include a very brief description for most of the books, tell you why I chose them, and paste the link off Amazon. The number doesn’t really matter; these books are roughly on the same level to me. Let’s start!
#1. The Hobbit
This is just a great book (only one book, unlike the movies) of adventure, peril, and charming beauty. I would highly recommend it for all ages. It is a good example of a journey book (a book describing a physical journey), with good structure and unforgettable characters. For me, this, and The Lord of the Rings, are my classic favorites.
#2. The Hunger Games Series
This is just such an obvious choice when I’m faced with coming up with a list of representative books for good structure. Absolutely brilliant series. One of the best endings I’ve ever read, if not the best. Highly recommend. Great example of trilogy structure.
#3. Quest for Celestia
This is another great book, though not so widely read. Quest for Celestia is also a journey book, a re-imagining of Pilgrim’s Progress. Don’t be put-off by that, though; it is full of new twists and unexpected encounters that left me hanging on the edge of my seat. Great structure.
#4. Pride and Prejudice
If you’re looking for a good example of romance fiction structure, this book is it. It’s the story of five sisters in 19th century England, and it’s full of warmth, love, and surprise. This book really surprised me by being absolutely great.
#5. Watership Down
This is one of my all time favorite books. It’s a story about a group of rabbits, which sounds lame, but it really isn’t. Upon first read, the plot seems divided into two parts with two separate goals, but actually there’s a great general goal of survival, and so I hold this book up as a truly great example of story structure and intrigue.
#6. A Wrinkle in Time
To me, this is a very good example of what sci-fi should be. A very clever book, with warmth, beauty, and adventure. It’s the story of Meg Murry and how she rescues her father from off another planet. I remember thinking that the climax was just slightly cheesy, but this is still well worth the read and a great example of story structure.
#7. Flowers for Algernon
This is actually a short story (haven’t read the novel, so I can’t recommend it), but this list simply would not be complete without it. It’s so heartbreakingly innocent and beautiful. To give away it’s genre would be a spoiler, but this is a great example of a specific kind of story structure. If you read it, you’ll understand. I’ll say no more about it; here’s the link if you’d like to read it online. Yes, it’s free!
#8. The Hound of the Baskervilles
In case you don’t know, this is a Sherlock Holmes novel. In my opinion, one of the best Sherlock Holmes novels. Great example of a mystery story structure. In fact, I’d recommend every single Sherlock Holmes piece ever written, both the novels and short stories. Brilliant work.
#9. The Maze Runner Series
Yet another example of stellar YA trilogy structure. Very interesting read as well, full of action, danger, and mystery. Well worth reading. Here’s the link to the first book, but I recommend the series as a whole.
#10. To Kill a Mockingbird
A very, very good classic. One of those books you’re forced to read in school, but end up liking a lot anyway. Great coming-of-age type structure. There isn’t so much a character goal as there is a general book goal, and the end can seem a little detached if you don’t read it carefully. But under structural scrutiny, I think it holds up very well.
I hope you agree with the books I’ve held up as structural examples, and that you go beg, borrow, or steal any of them you haven’t read. Or, just buy them. 🙂
After the Progress Update next week, I plan to dive into General Story Structure, where I’ll discuss the elements that I judged these books by structurally. I’m very excited to do that, and hopefully you (and I!) will learn lots along the way.
Happy Writing and remember to comment!