As promised last time, I’m going to be discussing story structure, and I will be doing it in two parts. If you didn’t read last week’s post, you probably should do so first.
In this part, I’m simply going to refer you to four good articles on story structure and plotting. Yes, I’m well aware that last time I tried to de-emphasize the idea of outlining and attempted to convince you plotters that pantsing was not totally evil (and that many so-called plotters do it as well perhaps without realizing it.
I hope that pantsers will read these articles and not feel that they’re abandoning their principles or going over to the Dark Side by doing so.
All stories have some kind of structure, whether we see it or not and whether they get that structure by conscious planning (plotting and outlining, rigid or loose), or through our story-telling abilities that may be innate or were impressed upon us early on (which I think might be a good way of explaining pantsing and why it seems to work for some).
These articles can be used as how-to guides for constructing a story, as analytical tools for understanding how a story is structured and why it works (or doesn’t work), or as writing aids to help find and fix possible story problems. They can also aid us in editing our own work.
There is no one story structure that fits all stories, and certainly not all stories will fit into one of these common structures.
Next time, in Part 2, we’ll delve further into story structure in order to help us craft better stories and to identify and fix possible problems.