Different types of story require different ways of going about telling them.
I’m not just talking about different genres although that’s true too.
I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’ve spent 11 years studying story. In the past I’ve been somewhat frustrated because I’ve only finished one short story, while writing possibly 52 openings this year.
Clearly, some of that is fear. Most of it probably is in fact. But as I mentioned yesterday I started Dean Wesley Smith’s Novel Structure Workshop and something he said to me was a huge lightbulb moment.
“[the vast majority of] novels don’t follow the three act structure or the hero’s journey.”
(To be fair, he wasn’t speaking to me personally. It was part of the lecture for the first class.)
Three act structure and the heroes journey is the majority of what I’ve been studying for the last 11 years. And will in certain that a large number of TV writers and movie writers have written novels, and certainly many books have been turned into movies, it makes sense that for me writing using the three act structure and the heroes journey doesn’t work because it hasn’t worked.
I will also say every writer is different. So just because something doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for somebody else.
You should study everything you can and try many different approaches. You never know what will work best for you.
I will say it gives me hope to realize that an author who follows my pattern doesn’t believe writing using three act structure or the heroes journey will work for the majority of successful novels.
On the other hand, I finally reached the point in my studies where the different story methods I have learned are overlapping.
I think the primary fault with the heroes journey, and the three act structure is that they are limiting in the sense that structure is king, and certain moments of story are dictated by the story structure method you are using.
The truth is if you worry about the plot to the exclusion of everything else is not going to end up with a story that has raving fans.
A plot is simply a series of events that occur in a story.
A story is something that an audience has an emotional reaction to.
I got hit with some unexpected work today. And I analyzed Die Hard for the Novel Structure Workshop.
I still haven’t written any words in my manuscript. But I feel good about the day for the first time in a long time, because I feel like I’m finally searching for answers in an appropriate direction.
Blog streak Day 3
450 words in about 20 minutes using speech recognition.
Manuscript words: 0