Sunday, December 12, 2010

Structure - Your Nemesis. Your Friend

This week I kept track of every time I used structure to help a my own writing or that of a client/student's. I lost count after about 107.

With the exception of word selection, structure pretty much informs every single line you write. And if it informs it, it can help it!

Let's say you aren't sure how your Hero is going to get out of a fight with your villain.

Now of course you want to find a super creative way to handle this, however structure can at least get you in the ball park.

Let's say this situation is in the first act. Well, first off we know that the Hero cannot win. Not even close. As a matter of fact, if this event is happening in the first act, this villainous situation is usually going to propel your Hero to take the Opportunity.

If this event happens in the second act I can nearly guarantee you that your Hero is going to fail... miserably. Usually lives will be lost.

The 3rd act is the ONLY place where your Hero really has any shot at all of winning (and even then at a high cost).

Each scenario requires a different set of events to take place to move you along to your next plot point.

Remember everything in your story needs to be moving forward. No event in your work can be suspended in a bubble. If you can get rid of a scene without having to MAJORLY rework your story, that scene needs to be cut.

Your story is a tightrope and structure is well... the tightrope.

Hopefully you can see how structure has helped color your options. Now it is still up to you to figure out the details, but at least knowing where you are in the story (and trust me we can go down much deeper into the sub-acts and come up with some even more fine-tuned advice) helps you to figure out your options.

Here is my challenge...
Either call into the radio show (2pm PST Saturday)or Tweet your question onto my Twitter stream @writingnodrama about a problem you are having with your story and see if I can help you with structure! #game #on

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