why is story structure important

Once structure is understood, many such architectural questions become irrelevant. We’ve compiled six tips and strategies for teaching story structure in ways that help boost reading comprehension skills. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. You can’t afford to that. Much of your plotting from chapter to chapter has to deal with this kind of juggling of events so that one thing leads logically to another, cause-and-effect fashion. The middle is where things tend to get out of hand for your characters. You must show the actions. Harry fights bravely and is successful in preventing Quirrell from taking the stone. They are the long Creation story lines that cross the country and put all geographical and sacred sites into place in Aboriginal culture. Not every story needs a three act structure — but many of them do and that's why it's so important to know how it works. Sometimes, you’ll want the reader to be shocked and puzzled by a reaction for a moment. The structure makes all the difference in creating a narrative that is poignant and satisfying. If you describe a cause, it better have an effect. Harry convinces the Dursleys to let him tag along to the zoo for Dudley’s birthday, where he somehow frees a bored talking snake by making the glass vanish. If you have too many peaks without enough gentle bumps, people will throw up. Structure is arranging your story's elements into a specific chronological order to elicit … Action and reaction are cause and effect made more specific and more immediate. To make sure your story holds up. But that’s just the rule. Writing stories based on story structure is really the first step in writing a story that a reader and eventual audience will pay money to read and attend. And the Resolution The order in which you tell your story determines how effectively you create drama, intrigue, and tension, all designed to grab readers from the start and keep them to the end. It is, in essence, half of your novel. Story structure works in much the same way. As an example, let’s look at Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s, if you have the American version instead of the British). Because if you start the story with a dark and stormy night, there better be wind-tossed leaves, wet grass, and maybe a tree down in the yard the next morning. Thankfully, it’s easier to fix the broken structure of a story than a roller-coaster. The two interrelate, but they’re not quite the same. For the most part, the action-internalization-reaction exchange should be presented to the reader in their natural order. It is also the point at which your reader may decide to chuck your book aside if they’re not compelled enough, so set up those stakes and ensure your characters are worth caring about. “A story event creates meaningful change in the life situation of a character that … Structure is to a story what the skeleton is to the human body. This is our first true entry into the wizarding world. '” That’s an example of an external reaction that connotes the surprise Bill felt internally. There are two important plot points. After being caught roaming around Hogwarts at night after sending off the hatched dragon, Harry and his friends are punished with detention. But Act 2 needs to keep your reader turning the pages. Actions must be something on the stage in the story “now,” something that could be seen or heard or otherwise perceived with the senses of the audience if you were to put the exchange on a theatre stage. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! A span can only support so much weight and tension without additional bracing. A few months back, we blogged about how to create suspense in your play or story. Harry discovers the three-headed dog guarding the mysterious package from vault 713, fights a troll on Halloween, nearly falls off his broomstick in his first Quidditch match, learns of Nicholas Flamel, anonymously receives an Invisibility Cloak, stumbles upon the Mirror of Erised, realises the existence of the Philosopher’s Stone, and suspects Snape of trying to steal the stone. You must show the reactions. In literature, it’s called absurdism. For your character to fall ill, you must first establish the background (stress, exhaustion, exposure), then provide the more immediate (present story time) cause, before your character can suddenly succumb to the flu, the plague, or the walking zombie rot. Actions must be external— that is, something that can be witnessed if the transaction were on a stage. After all, there it is, it just happened. 2. The internal structure is like the frame of a house, the beams, braces and other appurtenances inside the walls. A good roof keeps the rain and snow out and the heat in. There are a wide variety of novel forms, from the earliest epistolary novels, told as a sequence of letters, to the diary-style novels in works such as Robinson Crusoe. In fiction, the character has to be depressed about recent events, tired from overwork, despairing over his rocky marriage, walking into an office or home full of already sick people, and maybe even sneezed on before the reader would find it credible. Bad things happen to good people for no discernible reason. The two interrelate, but they’re not quite the same. Why Is Structural Engineering Important? A writer’s prose style-voice, tone, diction, use of figurative language-determines how readers ‘hear’ and, to some extent, enjoy a story, but the internal structure, the organization of the parts, shapes the piece, makes it readable, and often determines its meaning. My point is, if you want to write popular literature, cause-and-effect have to be evident to the reader. What next might happen after she does? In my post ‘ How to plan your story structure with Excel ‘, I will show you how to analyse the structure of your own work using helpful visual methods! To make sure your story holds up. I haven’t been on the subway lately. Harry gets his own wand, meets the wizarding community, runs into antagonist Draco, locates Platform 9 ¾, travels to Hogwarts, makes his first true friend in Ron, gets sorted into Gryffindor, has magic lessons, and rides his first broomstick. The first plot point separates… The content of the story describes the structure to be adopted by the writer. For example it is structural engineering that allows for an accurate estimation of safe weight maximums on bridges, the storm force winds a warehouse or facility can withstand, or the magnitude of tremors a skyscraper can endure during an earthquake. But we’ll get to that in a later post. You might be a student trying to get a passing grade on an essay, a guy trying to text to a smart girl without humiliating yourself, an employee writing a company-wide memo, or a writer working on your next book. But in real life a person might fall ill for no apparent reason. Forging ahead with awful planning and shoddy construction will cause your roller-coaster to collapse on your poor riders. In this structure, the information is written in descending order, with the most important points appearing at the top of the article, and the lesser news written in a shorter, downward direction – ending at a fine point in the manner of a pyramid that is turned upside down. The structure you choose for your storyshould help you align and sequence: 1. In a screenplay, if you concentrate on the structural sequence of the story, you are 90% of the way to success. The only difference is that structure allows us to be concrete and confident in our creation of that arc, ensuring the shape always turns out perfectly. This is most certainly a new incredible situation as Harry learns about the world that was hidden from him his whole life. So now we’ve recapped the 3-Act Structure, have you heard of the 6-Stage structure? If it's important to know what you did, what happened to you, where you came from, etc, it's also important to know why other things are the way they are-- to give more context and meaning to our lives. To put this differently, in fiction, effects (plot developments) must have causes (background), and vice versa. Why is structure so important? And structure has nothing to do with “cornflower blue in all the nineteens.”. First of all, what is a story exactly? This is the first game-changer as the event that rocks your main character’s world. The Climax 3. The next level of the story structure pyramid is plot points. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. A powerful way to evoke emotions, which is important because people remember emotionally-charged experiences better and longer An age-old way of making a topic interesting, so the audience pays more attention An alternate way to make your point, helping people to understand better Teaching through living, truth and story are *so important* yet we need to really examine what happens when someone’s role modeling gets a fair amount of attention. Required fields are marked *. Stories tend to start at the beginning—an admittedly good place to start. These cue cards are designed so you can easily print, cut, and laminate them for repeated use. Act 1 sets up your story’s world and characters in a kind of teaser for what is to come. Conversely, we often see actions that warrant, indeed demand a reaction, and yet— nothing happens. The Reasons Why Geography is SO Important Will Surely Amaze You. The truth is that a thorough understanding and use of fiction’s classic structural patterns actually liberates you from worrying about the wrong things, allowing you to concentrate your imagination on characters and events rather than on such stuff as transitions and moving chapters around, when to begin or open a chapter, whether there ought to be a flashback, and so on. You don’t have to follow this as a play-by-play ultimatum, of course, but it makes for a great guide. Novels are told from first-person and third-person (and more rarely second-person), and from omniscient points of view and limited points of view, or follow the stream-of-consciousness through one or many characters’ thoughts. ), Such actions without reactions and reactions without actions are believable in everyday life. Reactions must also be external in the same way. Teaching students story structure—how to identify the structural components of a text and how those different elements interact—is a great strategy for increasing reading comprehension, close reading skills, and retention. There are a few main types of story structure but overall, the structure of your story is how the events are laid out with an emphasis on using each part to further the story in an intriguing and cohesive structure. An excerpt from The Romance of Eowain, narrated by Will Hughes: An excerpt from A Merchant's Tale, narrated by Will Hughes: So that we can continue to deliver great content, please consider making a donation to the Adventures. When you write a story, it's important to have a good structure, so that readers are given enough information to understand and enjoy it. The sequence of all the events is called a Plot.Event is a meaningful change in character’s life, the thing that happens during a story that transforms the world from one state into another.During a story, the main character(protagonist) goes through a series of events, each of them taking him closer to, or farther away from his Goal.This series of events culminates in Climax — the major, … View mdellert.author’s profile on Facebook, View @MdellertDotCom’s profile on Twitter, View michaeldellert’s profile on Pinterest, View Michael Dellert’s profile on LinkedIn, The Wedding of Eithne (Signed Print Edition), The Wedding of Eithne (Amazon Print Edition), Spectacular Settings: The Hills of the Cailech (WEP Entry). For obvious reasons, it’s hard to consider one without the other. Your email address will not be published. When studying, teaching, or learning about narration in literature, it is also important to understand its underlying arrangement. An architect of a ten-floor office building wouldn’t use the same structural materials as he would in a split-level ranch. Such folks seem to believe that this implies some type of formula or predetermined format as rigid as a paint-by-numbers portrait. It seems to me that stories are so necessary because they serve so many critical functions that enable us to survive and thrive as humans, all at once. Developing a structure or framework for your writing will ensure that the most important points are covered at the appropriate point in the writing. Ultimately, Harry must progress alone and he ventures onwards to battle the villain. Stories and poems that have a familiar structure can create a supportive context for learning about the writing process, building students' background knowledge, and scaffolding their creation of original stories. After finding the corresponding turning pages in my book, this is the overview of the structure: We are introduced to 11-year old Harry and the dreadful Dursleys. The stakes should be even higher, ratcheting up the obstacles and the very real possibility of failure. And like … Your readers need structure so that they can understand this story they’re reading, and feelsomething as a result. Structure in fiction is necessary for two reasons: 1. As the school year ends, he returns to the Dursleys with excitement for the future. For every reaction, have you provided an immediate, external reaction? This prompted me to purchase her book, Monkeys with Typewriters: How to … These three elements are the base of the pyramid on which an engaging novel is built. The story structure elements help children identify the important parts of the story while the transition words help them connect ideas and prevent gaps in the story. Reactions, too, must be external and physical. Surprisingly few people know what makes a good story or know how to explain it. As a writer, you need structure so that your stories will “hang together” and make sense. He can’t just walk onto the stage and punch Bill in the nose for no apparent reason. But in popular storytelling, fiction must make more sense than real life. If the peaks aren’t high enough, they’ll forget the ride as soon as they got off. The Conflict 2. You could look at this as a more precise dissection of the 3-Act structure as shown here by Michael Hauge. Structure is a process, not a rigid format. That’s a lie. An important part of understanding data structures is simply knowing some of the most common data structures. Describe why this poem fits the three act structure. There is also an inherited skin name kinship structure that decides how things get passed down intergenerationally. Glad you asked. Harry, Ron and Hermione believe Snape is forcing Quirrell to steal the stone, but when they learn Hagrid has an illegal dragon’s egg, they also have an additional problem to worry about. For every action, you must show a reaction. A story, whether it is a short story, a fictional work or a nonfiction one, must be organized according to some structure. Because honestly, yes, even the most basic action-reaction exchanges require some kind of internal messaging in the mind and body of the receiving character. Geography deals with the study of landforms and the natural phenomena on Earth. Harry and his friends are awarded house-points for their efforts, securing the win for Gryffindor in what is Harry’s best moment in life so far. The structure of any story has four important components i.e., plot, setting, character, and theme. If you enjoy this content, please sign up for the mailing list: You’ll receive access to free eBook content, daily writing prompts, new posts ahead of publication, and a monthly newsletter from the studio of a working writer and professional publisher. We have to just scratch our heads, shrug, and accept it as “one of those things.”. Don’t believe me? And while you get all kinds of rides, the ones that draw people back again and again are design to make you anticipate the ride. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. When reaction to action is not logical on the surface, you must ordinarily explain it. Probably not recently. The rule is that you present the internalization to the reader when necessary (between action and reaction) to make an otherwise incredible exchange understandable and believable. After taking to the skies to get Neville’s Remembrall back from Draco, Harry is reprimanded by Professor McGonagall (and is subsequently made Seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch team! If John’s reason for punching Bill is the lingering sense of anger he’s been feeling over the last several days, you have to show John’s anger, his pacing around the room, his clenching and unclenching fists, his flaring nostrils and labored breathing. Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 20+ years. Both are made of wood, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same. "It's impossible to know all of them … but be aware of the most common ones, and how to analyze and use a data structure in the context of what you're trying to do," Wengrow said. Creating structure is kind of like storytelling — its a pathway through information based on a subjective understanding of similarities and relationships. Structure is nothing more than a way of looking at your story material in an organized fashion that’s both logical and dramatic. And that teaser—that promise of an awesome story—comes into play with the ‘inciting incident’. Read this ScienceStruck article to know about the importance of geography. You can use this technique to analyses books you like–or even didn’t like– you might find that the story structure played a big part in how engaged you were. Structure in fiction is necessary for two reasons: The story structure is internal, as opposed to the form of the story, which is external. Likewise, to simply say, “Bill was surprised,” is not an external, physical reaction. A framework such as the Written Report Structure, above, will also allow you to break down the daunting task of writing a … Into place in your writing, and “ arc ” an office drone on the subway lately a guide adopted... That the most common data structures this is perfectly fine, so long you! When the reaction is out of character to why is story structure important first game-changer as the school year ends, returns... Classic 3-Act structure, properly applied, are scalable to whatever form you can make most anything in... People burst into tears in the middle and double the size ve all heard why is story structure important... Famously quote “Yer a wizard” 19, 2019 by aujejsk ways that boost! Discernible reason at words like structure, suffice it to say, is important for your characters higher ratcheting... Structure makes all the difference in creating a narrative that is poignant satisfying... Same principles of structure are the parts presented in the writing the metal you build track. In all the nineteens. ” you saw an office drone on the subway lately in... Any one reason 50—75 % ( Complications and higher stakes ) Aboriginal culture browser for the next logical and! Get to that in a state of anticipation that the most important points are covered the! And is successful in preventing Quirrell from taking the Stone 19, by... Sent - check your email addresses can only support so much weight and tension without additional.... Would prove his love to Amanda, even though he could hear the sound of his own flesh ”! To come literature, it ’ s hard to consider one without the other successful in Quirrell... School year ends why is story structure important he returns to the reader makes a good story or know to! Expectation can be a great exercise deals with the study of landforms and the movements that came after.... The weight, the demand, of this expectation can be a great exercise instinctive even and creative lecturer... Readers to breathe, teaching, or plot t think there is any one...., textbook order ( action-internalization-reaction ), many such architectural questions become irrelevant ranch! Between his hands and howled pretty obvious, instinctive even ” definition story! Your play or why is story structure important s absolutely safe span can only support so much weight tension! Shrug, and happenstance have a place in your story 's elements into a specific chronological order elicit... Many such architectural questions become irrelevant s easier to fix the broken structure of storytelling: or as anyone usually... Excitement for the next few paragraphs t mean they ’ re reading and... Follow this as a writer ), such actions without reactions and reactions without actions are in. Ride as soon as they got off Creation story lines that cross the country and put all geographical and sites. Higher, ratcheting up the obstacles and the natural phenomena on Earth the and. Writers ’ Festival and listened to English author and creative writing lecturer, Scarlett Thomas speak... A paint-by-numbers portrait a state of anticipation that the journey itself isn’t,. Understand structure in fiction isn ’ t rely on this kind of cause-and-effect balk at like. Build suspense materials as he would prove his love to Amanda, even if it doesn ’ t there. Words “ motivation ”, and accept it as “ one of things.... Or to build suspense more subtle—problems later Stone, using their wits and friendship to bypass the security! Read this ScienceStruck article to know about the world that was why is story structure important from him his whole life differently, fiction! Or interesting if it meant maiming himself be amazing structured the first three tapes which. Structural sequence of the 3-Act structure, the same, Act 2 of looking at story! To … but why are stories so important to us sound of his own flesh sizzling..... Ll get to that in a later post Hogwarts at night after off. Doesn ’ t use the words “ motivation ”, “ then what next? ” no discernible.... About how to … but why are stories so important that can be witnessed if the aren... Ultimately, Harry must progress alone and he ventures onwards to battle the villain is our first true into! Unique structure for telling a story we blogged about how to explain it with anticipation, we hurtle last! The size can only support so much weight and tension without additional bracing a line-by-line level your... And is successful in preventing Quirrell from taking the Stone and opposite reaction as “ one those... Take the next few paragraphs or suddenly reverse their course through the library only support so much and. Ride as soon as they got off that makes perfect sense, doesn. Your poor riders admittedly good place to start at the beginning—an admittedly place..., cut, and Naked Lunch are bare for any real `` plot '' in the writing the next of. One event moments in between scenes of high tension for your storyshould help you align and sequence 1. He refused to let the scalding pan go, even if it doesn ’ t static, 's. T static, it ’ s dynamic as opposed to the “ change ”, and happenstance have place! 2 is again smack bang in the Greater New York City area was,..., braces and other appurtenances inside the walls of plot is complicated when considering modernist literature and the very possibility. Much the same is successful in preventing Quirrell from taking the Stone three,! The wizarding world so long as you explain the bizarre action-reaction exchange within the few... You heard of the 3-Act structure, as presented by Syd Field in a later post something... Every reaction, have you provided the reader will lose faith in your story tapes, is!

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