November 18th, 2010

An Experiment in Story Structure and Storyboards

First off, I never learned how to write.  I just sort of jumped in and started doing it. I took some writing classes in college, but they didn't teach me anything about story elements or structure. I'm not sure what they taught me other than graduate students shouldn't teach writing classes.

Normally, I'm a pantser which is fine as long as it is short, like flash short.  What happens when I try something longer is I get lost in the world of possibilities of  "what could happen."  I know the beginning.  I know the ending.  But, the middle gets very nebulous.  I can't seem to connect all the dots.

I tried to work around this by outlining. Outlining worked for chapters, but not for the overall picture of the book.  I was still lost and wandered around with no real cohesion.

Then, someone on my flist posted about trying the 3 Act Story Structure she saw on another blog. That kept stewing in the back of my brain while I read other stuff about plots, characterization, editing, dialogue, . . . All these bits and pieces, but the dots still weren't connecting.

So, enter November, NaNoWriMo month.  I decided to give my WP a break and bang out a couple of short stores using the 3 Act Story Structure.  Story structure is, I think, the piece I've been missing.  The 3 Act Story Structure, as found on Alexandra Sokoloff's blog, is built on a display board using index cards and already, this WIP is turning into something better because I can see where I need to plug in pieces. 

I started working on one and have posted it here as well as my experiences with it.

I'd love to talk about this if anyone else has worked with it.