I’m dusting off a story that, based on advice from my beta readers, I’m planning on expanding and breaking up in a serialized fashion. To keep it from going off of the rails, I feel I need to nail the structure down, but after several years and scores of story forms, I’ve never been satisfied with one. I can’t even decide if this is a Change / Steadfast or a Success / Fail story.
It is set in a somewhat rigid, hierarchical, and xenophobic society where the OS characters are mostly concerned with maintaining the status quo by making sure everyone knows their place and behaves accordingly.
The two MCs are dealing with feelings of isolation and rejection, each desiring an intimate and authentic relationship.
The FMC (or at least everyone’s image of her) is universally admired, however, she is obsessively focused on her faults and is slowly killing herself trying to live up to everyone’s unrealistic expectations. Her OC tells her she needs to focus less on what other people want and focus on what she wants.
The MMC, because he is an outsider, believes there is nothing he can do to be accepted. As a result, he is focused on avoiding conflict by not attracting attention. His OC tells him that he needs to take some chances if he ever wants to be happy.
While much of the 1st act is about the OCs pushing their MCs to change, the real story conflict begins when they do that by forming a relationship. At this point, it seems to go from a change story to a steadfast story where most of the OS characters try to break them up and force them back into their proper roles. Everything escalates until the midpoint where everyone is forced to accept their relationship.
In the second half, they each establish (separate) public careers that require they keep their relationship a secret so that their relationship begins to fall apart even as they find fame and a type of broader acceptance. In the climax, they only save their relationship by throwing away their careers in dramatic Hollywood fashion. Ultimately, when the friends they earned in the first half reveal their full story to the public, they find a type of public redemption and are allowed to return to their careers on their own terms.
The more I look at it, the further away I get from any fixed storyform. Part of the problem may be that so much of the story’s focus is on the RS, confusing it with the 2 MC’s throughlines in my mind. I can see an argument made for nearly any throughline being in any domain.