Working around a Structure

by juliusmsanz

I think that one of the most dangerous pitfalls a new writer can fall into is an easy one: feeling that one must obey a certain structure when writing a story.

It is true that most stories have some sort of start, conflict or drama, a climax and an ending. That is because as readers we like what we are used to and we like our stories to have nice and tidy endings. I still remember the time when I saw a film where the villain survived in the end. I was shocked because I had never seen anything like it before.

Truth be told a story never really starts at the starting line, everything is told in media res as otherwise we would have to start the story by describing the Bing Bang. There are many neat concepts like starting from the end, or even cut the chapters and spreading them around the story. I’m not going to tell you that this works in romance, but why couldn’t it be applied to a thriller? or a mystery?

Look at tv shows these days, they always make sure that the characters end with each other, why couldn’t a character end up alone? Why couldn’t the major twist be in the very last page?

The rest is up to your creativity. Say your major twist is in the very first chapter. How are you going to squeeze the juice out after an early bomb? You can make sure that the twist is the present and have the story be about the past, or you could instead center the story around the repercussions. Like I said before, it’s up to creativity.

Experimenting and finding out what works and doesn’t work is a priceless step that you need to take in your writing adventure. It’s good to make mistakes and to change your works, as it’s the only way you can truly improve.

The bottom line of this post: don’t feel trapped or that you need to write this way or that way. A story’s structure is a key piece but not a rigid one.

Expect a short story tomorrow!

Have a nice day!