There are many bumps along the way when you embark on a writing journey. Of course, I don’t have to tell you this. If you’ve ever attempted to write anything, you will know that writing is not an easy task. But there are tools that you can use to help you along the way. If this sounds like a quest video game to you, then let me say it this way: it’s dangerous to go alone, take this story structure.
This might sound like very obvious advice, that your story needs a structure to keep it standing up. But it took me a while to believe that it was actually true, or at least to put it into practice. I think it was just because of where my writing roots came from that I wasn’t in the mindset of setting up an actual structure for my stories and hitting certain plot points along the way to make the story coherent. But I have since come around and I absolutely love the planning that goes into story structuring.
Recently I was at a meeting of my local writer’s group and the presentation du jour was about story structure. The presentation was quite interesting because it turned me on to some structures that I didn’t even know existed. For instance, have you ever heard of the spiral structure? Yeah, neither had I. Apparently it consists of writing episodically in a very formatted way to explore character rather than plot. So, nothing new may happen in your twelfth story written this way, but you will — theoretically — uncover new depths about your character. It’s basically using the same plot over and over in a slightly modified way to explore your characters. I found this fascinating, but I don’t think I’ll be using it any time soon.
But there are, of course, more traditional story structures as well. There’s the Seven Part Story (this one is my favorite), the Three Act Structure, and the Five Act Structure. None of these are right and none of them are wrong. It all depends on what you’re writing, what you’re comfortable using, and what you think will best serve your story. So do some research and find the perfect story structure for you. Then, start outlining!
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan