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Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing Tips: Structure

Before you write, you have a few structural things to consider. How will you present your story: Will it be linear or non-linear? Will there be flashbacks or time-skips into the future? Will the climax come in the thick of the plot or towards the end? Whose point of view will the story be told from? These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself.
To get on track, the best suggestion I can give is: Create an outline. Not only does an outline allow writers to review the plot but it also offers a means of reflection on how the story will flow together. Generally speaking, a well constructed plot requires an exposition (rising action), a climax and a dénouement (falling action). This shell is acceptable as is, but it can be improved by peppering the overall plot with counterpoints of action that both help and hinder the protagonist.
Here’s how I go about outlining:
I always start out simple. Where will the plot begin and where will it end.
After marking off these points, I move on to defining the climax.
Then, Insert the major events of your narrative as they happen in the rising and falling action segments.
Once on paper, or in a word doc, you can see how to move events around so they will suit the story better or leave your outline alone until further drafting. Personally, I like gradual rising and falling actions with the climax closer to the end. This inclination varies by writer, so don’t feel constricted to my structural preference.
Beyond the basic outline, I typically create a few others.  Outlines that detail the different character arcs and romance arcs. Once these are perfected to my liking as separate outlines, I can blend them together and viola! You have before you, a map of your story. Follow each point as you have planned and your tale will not only flow, but have a structural backbone to support several permutations of editing.

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