A child learns to use Lego bricks and builds a tower one brick on top of another. The older the child gets, the more he understands that interlocking the bricks makes a stronger structure. Her structures grow taller, sturdier, and more complex. So it is with understanding story structure. Scenes are the Lego bricks of story structure.
The plot is what happens to your character. The story is about how your character reacts to the things that happen. It’s simple cause and effect, right? Hold on there. It’s not quite that simple. For the most effective story your forces of antagonism (see this post) and your character’s lies, secrets, and scars (see this post) are interwoven. Easy for me to say. Difficult to do. Until you have the golden ticket. What’s that golden ticket? Because there are lies, secrets, and scars and opposition, there is a unique plot. Writers often worry about a story being “done to death.” It’s easy to believe there are no new stories in the world. One look at all the titles in Amazon can overwhelm you. Let’s rephrase. There are no new story concepts in the world. A story concept is reducing the story to the basics. Concepts include: the revenge plot, the detective story, the space marine story, and so on. There are hundreds if not millions of stories about revenge. That’s the test. If it’s a concept, there are lots of other stories like it. So how is a writer to make his story stand out? You make choices. Your […]
The lies, secrets, and scars of your characters will give your stories power. What makes the story work is that emotion that ties it all together.