Monday, March 18, 2013

Story Structure

In his online editor blog post, Brian Klems writes about the structure of a story. Like I always tell the students when I do a school visit, everyone has a story to tell. And we all know that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But how do you get from here to there?
In Klems’ post, “The Two Pillars of Novel Structure,” on the Writer’s Digest blog, he uses a visual bridge to explain how story structure works. This is just an inkling of what he wrote:
A Bridge to Somewhere: My favorite visual representation of story structure is the suspension bridge: The key foundational elements here are the two pillars, or pylons. These pillars are set down in bedrock, allowing the suspension cables to support a solid and secure platform—the bridge itself.
Think about it: Every story has to begin, and every story has to end. And the middle has to hold the reader’s interest. The craft of structure tells you how to begin with a bang, knock readers out at the end, and keep them turning pages all the way through. When you ignore structure, your novel can begin to feel like one of those rope bridges swinging wildly in the wind over a 1,000-foot gorge. Not many readers are going to want to go across.”
There is much, much more in his article including excerpts from great novels to get his point across. A must read.

New Mexico

“Novella: Shorter than a novel but longer than a long story—approximately 50,000 words.” – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

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