What’s the real importance of thinking about a STRUCTURE while writing a STORY?

So, we’ve been talking about this for a while now. But let’s be honest here, many people just grab a piece of paper and start writing about anything, and chances of landing in a good story this way are not that far off. Many professional writers don’t follow a proper structure, or so they say, and accomplish stories anyway. So, is it really that important to think about one before writing a good ol’ tale?

First of all, I think we have to understand something, whether we like it or not, every story follows certain structure, even those we write without thinking in organizing the information will find a way into a stablished form or shape, and there are many shapes to follow!

The one we were discussing before, the one most commonly referred as a plot, in its most basic form, it’s composed of:

  • The inciting incident
  • A character
  • An obstacle (rising action)
  • A quest.

A primitive form of premise to organize all of these elements would be something like this:

When an inciting incident happens to a character; they have to overcome rising action to complete the quest.

But there are other structures that a writer can rely on when devising a new story. And of those other structures, the most basic one, and maybe the one that doesn’t help anyone to write, is the Aristotelian three acts structure.

  • The beginning, set up for characters, their relationship, wants and desires.
  • The middle, rising action until the climax.
  • The end, the plot is resolved.

Now, after Aristotle there were obviously other dudes wanting to impose their structures and wisdom upon mankind, one of these bastards is called Horace. He came up with a five acts structure, not to compete with Aristotle or anything, right?

It’s called the ABDCE structure.

  • A for Action, must be specific and concrete (active). Involves a character doing something.
  • B for Background, or context before the story started, only essential information here.
  • D for Development, basically the character facing the rising action, forcing them to develop succeeding or failing to overcome obstacles.
  • C for Climax, the higher point in the rising action, the key narrative twist that changes your characters in a real and significant way.
  • E for Ending, this is where the change in the characters is shown, the end of their journey.

Now, having into consideration structures and all of this, there’s one thing that really makes a difference when thinking about them. This is the circular feeling that some stories have that connects the beginning and the end, the signal of the hero’s journey.

The circle represents the leaving into the unknown and the return back with the fire, with the knowledge from the journey.

But in the case of another type of story, like the virgin’s promise, the structure can become something along the lines of a spiral. This structure signals the journey into the inner world, deeper and deeper inside oneself in the hopes to find roots, to find the same fire from the journey into the unknown, just not out there but inside.

But these are just some examples of structures a writer can use in their quest into the perilous of developing a new idea.

Okay, so that’s it with structures. Next time we’ll make a quick resume of this whole plot idea before moving into other storytelling related stuff, the idea here is to finish this strong base from which we’ll be able to build amazing and complex stories in no time! Actually, a lot of time and effort… Don’t delude yourselves!

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