Thursday, December 13, 2012
In the thick of things
It's been a while since my last post, due to moving, and a struggle to make sense of what I'm writing. I thought the issue was structure, and mistakenly thought it was just a matter of fixing it. But, I discovered I wasn't equipped with the tools and knowledge to structure my novel. Enter Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I read a lot of books on plot and structure, but it was Larry's book that finally gave me a clear view of the elements required to create a cohesive structure that covered the essential elements needed for a novel. I have spent a lot of time working on this, and I am now close to getting back to writing. I know, there are many that prefer to just write, let their muse and the characters dictate the direction the story goes. There's enough debate on the writing forums that I don't need, or want, to go down that path. I am a firm believer in story architecture, but also believe that structuring a novel has NO impact on your ability to be creative in your writing. In fact, I find that it enhances creativity. I think there is a misconception that outlining, plotting, beat sheets, and establishing structure is a hinderance to being creative. Where my outline is my road map, my beat sheet is my travel guide, and as such, stimulates my thinking as scenes are created, in context of the over-all plot and structure. Does the blueprints an architect creates hinder his creative design? I would pose that it's the blueprints that save him from mistakes that will be costly and time-consuming to fix later. As Frank Lloyd Wright said (paraphrased): "You can fix it on the drawing board with an eraser, or in the field with a sledge hammer". Story architecture gives you more than just a road map. It assures, assuming your story is engaging and well written, that your novel meets the expectations of the publisher and reader.