Getting My Acts Together (Maybe)

Story Quest

I’ll confess, I don’t think much about story structure while I’m writing a first draft of something.

I usually know where I want the story to end and can generally figure out where the beginning is within a few chapters, but I’m usually fine with winging the journey.

Until I start editing.

And then I’m forced to either justify or cut (noooooooo!) all those metaphorical ninjas I threw in when I thought the pace was dragging, or the philosophical discussion about nose hair that went so well with the story I thought I was writing, but not so much with the one I seem to have written instead.

Which is why I’m wondering if I might want to try a little planning for once.  Run up a little outline, give pre-structuring a try.

I’m a bit worried about losing some of the fun—see image above—or that structure might equal predictability or (oddly) loss of control over my own story.

But  the imaginations of poets and composers thrive within some pretty rigid forms.

And there are some fundamental physical laws that have to be followed when you design a building, but that doesn’t mean everything has to look like the Taj Mahal.

And you can make pretty much any muffin you want, as long as you get the basic proportions right.*

Plus, I’ve been re-reading Alexandra Sokoloff’s excellent blog posts (scroll down past the books, though I recommend those, too) about structure and story elements and getting one’s Acts together.

She makes knowing what you’re about to do sound easy, fun, and creative.

And Lord knows that would be a novel—pun totally intended—experience for me.

Anyone have any experience with outlining? Story structure?
Comparisons between writing and other art forms?
Awesome muffin recipes (looking at you, Dee)?


*Although that’s no guarantee they’ll  be edible. Or that your family will touch ’em.  Thus endeth the analogy.

(Thank Tom Gauld for the excellent image and Watson for finding it somewhere)