The Structure of Story

English: a sample of altered book art

Image via Wikipedia


Getting ready to put a project on paper can be as easy as 1-2-3. Yeah, right! It’s not so easy putting your project to paper. Most of us don’t outline or write down the ideas we have about our stories beginning, middle and end. Some of us feel it will mess with the creativity of our story. I thought that at first. I’ve been stuck on a project more times than I can count only because I didn’t jot down the important parts of the story arc. So now, to remedy that I work on an outline. I get to know my characters and their personalities.

I visited K.M. Weiland’s site and she has some interesting words she has shared in regards to story and structure. I always love to visit her site. She has such great insight on the craft of writing. Her words always guide me and help me to better understand the process of writing.

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 1: Why Should Authors Care?

What’s the single most overlooked, misunderstood—and yet most important—part of storytelling? If you cheated and looked at the title, you already know the answer is structure. Most uninitiated writers have two different reactions to the idea of story structure. Either they think it’s great, but too mystical and lofty to be understood by common mortals, or they think it’s formulaic hooey that will sap the art right out of their books.

I started out somewhere in the “huh?” camp that didn’t even realize there was such a thing as structure. From there, I progressed to reading complicated outlines that left me shaking my head. If that was structure than my story was practically written for me before I even came up with a decent idea. Thanks, but no thanks.

What I didn’t know—what most writers don’t know—is that even as I subjected the idea of story structure to ignorance and ridicule, I was actually structuring my stories without even realizing it. In the years since, I’ve been introduced to many theories of structure, all of which bear out the inevitable components found in all good stories, whether their authors deliberately structured them or were just lucky enough to wing it on their own good instincts.  Read more here.


Blogfest Story Chain

The story chain is getting geared up! Follow along and read as the story unfolds. Check out all of the blogs that are participating in Deana Barnhart’ s “Gearin’ Up to Get An Agent Blog O Rama” The Neophyte Writer is wrapping up the story so stay tuned!

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Nata – Tuesday Evening
Introduce us to the main character and pick whether you would like the story in 1st person or third.
Your words are: pickle, savage, red

Fiction and Film – 5AM
Please tell us what the MC’s goal in life at this point of the story is.
Your words are: subconscious, ache, terrified

Andrea Mack – 6:30 AM
Let us know what the MC’s flaw is (the thing he/she tries to work through throughout the story).

Your words are: justify, bookcase, nostril

Jen Daiker – 7:30 AM (Twitter acct)
Introduce us to another character (antagonist, best friend, your choice)

Your 1 word is: lake

Meghan Kirkland – 7:45 AM
Fill us in on some back story if you could, but try to weave it in instead of just telling us.

Your words are: scrumptious, bed, grass

Shelly Brown – 8AM
Introduce us to a love interest.

Your words are: erratic, boggle, zombie

Catherine Johnson – 8:30 AM
Write what you want, but show us, don’t tell us about it.

Your words are: big toe, Cadillac, baby.

Marcie Bridges – 8:45 AM
Begin a scene that will change the direction of the story.  Surprise us:)

Your words are: funny, Europe, fuzz ball

Deana Barnhart – 9:00 AM
Create something that will change the MC’s life.

Your words are: cough, butterscotch, drown

Juliana Brandt – 9:30 AM
Expand on the thing that will change the MC’s life (from the poster above).
Your words are: booger, shampoo, weasel

Frost Lord – 9:45 AM
Give us some conflicting emotions the MC is dealing with.

You words are: planet, guitar, flower

Callie Kingston – 10AMIs MC’s goal different from before? (2nd poster talked about this)  If so, tell us what it is now, if the same, give us more info about it.
Your words are: buck, ironing board, sleep

Angelina C Hansen – 10:30AM
Create a subplot (anything will do)
Your words are: suffocate, sell, shut up

J. Ro – 11AM
Write what you like, but don’t use any adverbs (ly words) when you do.
Your words are: Science fiction, cramps, snag

Nicole Zoltack – 11:30AM
Give us a scene with dialog.
Your words are: butt cheek, towel, mustard

Loralie Hall – 12PM
Give us a scene with action

Your words are: awesome, dress, flake

It Had to Happen – 12:30PM
Put the MC in a situation where he/she has to make a tough decision

Your words are: local, rockin, hand nail

Been there, done that – 1PM
Make the reader sad

Your words are: pixie, spike, larva

Amy Kennedy – 1:30PM
Weave some back story in (the 5th poster did this also if you want to look at it).

Your words are: kiss, delve, bruise
Weaving a Tale or Two – 2PM
This is the middle of the middle of the story.  Help the MC gain all the knowledge she needs to take her through the rest of the story.
Your words are: get, safe, muddle

Lindy – 2:45PM
With the knowledge MC has gained (see post above) help him/her make a plan to get what he/she wants
Your words are: bank, t-shirt, salt

A.E. Martin – 3PM
Try to make the reader feel happy

Your words are: ride, suggest, spray

Christina’s Writing Buzz – 3:15PM
Have the MC interact with someone or something.

Your words are:tv, chest, brace
Suspending Disbelief – 3:30PM
Have the MC understand something they didn’t before.

Your words are: Texas, flip flop, argue

Jamie Ayres – 4PM
Expand on the post before yours, but add dialogue

Your words are: hissy fit, drawer, ghost

Vicky Bruere – 4:30PM
We are getting close to the crisis point, let’s see some tension in this scene

Your words are: triumph, grope, sweet

Rachel Dillon – 5PM
Take the previous post and continue building tension toward the crisis.

Your words are: type, blood, jacked up

Lora Rivera – 6PM
This is the crisis point.  Give it to us!

Your words are: cliff, shout, tooth pick

An Alleged Author – 6:30PM
Take the last post and continue witht he crisis

Your words are: chalice, cage, papers

KP Simmon’s Musings – 7PM
Take the last two posts dealing with crisis and bring the crisis to an end

Your words are: strapped, knee, kill

Kathy Stemke – 7:30
Take the last three posts on crisis and have the MC regroup after crisis

Your words are: wet, suicide, fly

Word by Word – 8PM
Have the MC make a plan as we gear up to the climax

Your words are: retreat, shell, diaper

Margaret Fieland – 9PM
Give us some subplot closure (the 13th poster started a subplot).

Your words are: jail, concubine, heave

Taylor Roseberry – 9:30PM
Show us a serious moment

Your words are: moon, plant, fight

Novel Thinking – 10PM
Show is chaos breaking loose

Your words are: victim, applause, tear

Robin Weeks – 10:30PM
Start the climax of the story

Your words are: song, prejudice, string

Angie Cothran – 11:30PM
Continue the climax from the above post

Your words are: Velcro, pastel, jumble

Melodie Wright – 12AM
Begin wrapping up the story after the climax (from above to posts)

Your words are: blue, seldom, carriage

The Neophyte Writer – Thursday 8AM
End the story
Your words are: shackle, base, tender

Favorite Places To Write

Coffee Time

Image via Wikipedia

May 24th Theme Day – 5 Favorite Places To Write

I could actually write anywhere. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and jot things down in my journal. I love to meet my writer friends at coffee shops to share ideas. I do some serious writing at my public library. I can write just about anywhere when I need to. So here is my list:

  1. Home Office
  2. Library
  3. Coffee Shop
  4. Park
  5. In the car

I just write where ever or when ever the need hits me.

Happy Reading & Writing!

Your Emotional Character

emotion icon

I came across a post over at The Bookshelf Muse featuring author Janet Gurtler on voice and giveaway. This was an interesting read in that, we as writers need to be sure that our characters are getting how they are feeling across to the reader. We want the reader to truly feel what the characters are experiencing. By doing this, our readers become more involved with the story and are easily able to pick their favorite character and follow them throughout the story.

To read more about this interview and her novel “I’m Not Her” go here.

Favorite Children’s Stories

Cover of "Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read ...

Cover via Amazon

I loved a good book when I was child. It’s really tough to narrow it down to just one favorite story. Of course, I am just as passionate about Dr. Seuss now as I was then. Green Eggs and Ham comes to mind as being the most read book in my personal library. Another favorite is Where The Wild Things Are, which has now become a movie all these years later. I would say it was the second most read book in my personal library.

What is it about Green Eggs and Ham all these years later, that still makes me smile? I think its that the quirky little characters that played their role in the story were simply unforgettable. It also cracked me up that if the guy had just tried the doggone green eggs and ham in the first place he might have discovered that they weren’t so bad early on in the story and they could have just gone on to do other things. But that would not have made the story as much fun.

I used Green Eggs and Ham with my own kids as a weapon. I would refer back to the story so they would at least try to eat the broccoli or the peas I put on their plates at dinner time. It worked every time. And at night I would make up my own friendly monster stories in reference to Where the Wild Things Are. It would always help get them to sleep at night.

I have since purchased those favorite stories for all the little relatives I have in my family. I have even acquired a few new ones over the years and share those with the kids even today. Sharing old and new stories will continue to be a favorite pastime until the day I die.

What were some of your favorite stories? What kids stories do you love now?