Friday, September 29, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Story Super Structure

Whether you prefer to construct your story from a character-driven origin or a plot-driven origin, it's important that when the manuscript is complete that your novel is strong...on both counts. When I think about my favorite novels, they're all complex and balanced - I can't tell where the author began her journey when creating her wonderful tale.

So, how do we all accomplish this literary feat?

While I can not claim to have a corner on creating such a well-written novel, I have learned a technique (through trial & error!)  that I am attempting to implement all the time. It's a matter of weaving strong plot and character elements together. Since I am primarily a character-driven writer, here's how I attempt to "balance" my manuscripts:

In a nutshell, I begin with the Hero's Journey (which deals with the protagonist) when writing my first draft. When that is complete, I go through the draft & size it up with the Three-act Story Structure (which primarily deals with plot.) Usually lots of my scenes get moved!

As I mentioned above, I approach my stories as a character-driven writer, so the Hero's Journey has been familiar to me for quite some time. However, it was when I began to implement the Three-act Story Structure to my work that I felt my manuscripts began to feel more "balanced." Weaving the two together is not easy, but the result is well worth the effort. Since I needed to better understand the Three-act Story Structure, I drew a dummy sheet that I'm constantly referring to:


Are you a character-driven writer or a plot-driven writer?
Hope this helps!

2 comments:

  1. I used to think I was a character-driven author, but then I spent a lot of time (I do mean a LOT) studying plot, and now I think I've about 50/50. I still have a soft spot for character-first when starting my books, but I've smartened up a bit about sketching out a plot into which the character can unfold with a little more structure.

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    1. Sounds very similar to the process that I go through. Have a great weekend, Mitty!

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