Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Creativity Without Walls - Ellie Soderstrom - Biggest Aha Moments in Writing

When I first heard "plot and structure" I pictured chains and walls and a moat with some alligators swimming in it. I was thinking that my creativity would be bound and gagged and made to stick to a plot as predictable as every episode of Murder, She Wrote.

But then I read James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure, and it was like a bright light shone into my soul and showed me the way to create a good story. I realized that by following a 7-step structure (structure can be anywhere from 3-96 plot points) it actually released my creativity. Instead of using my creativity to change the structure and mess with things that shouldn't be messed with, I was pouring my creativity into such things as characters, settings, witty dialogue, prose, and clothing choices.

I also noticed that all my favorite stories followed a structure. Some are looser than others, but all of them have it. Picture the movie Memento, for instance. It's incredibly creative, and since it shows the story backwards you'd think that structure was thrown out the window. But it is actually one of the strictest story structures I've ever seen. 

So I urge you to play around with linear storytelling, but give your character an arc. Mess with time travel all you want but introduce the rise and fall of the antagonist. And you can have your protag locked in chains inside a moat with some alligators for the entirety of the book, but please...follow some plot points as you do it.

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