Wednesday 2 October 2019

Stage of revision 1 Is the overall structure sound?

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

This really is the first thing to look at – after perhaps getting rid of a few typos which may be distracting. This has to be right.

I find it useful at this point to recheck if I have got all of the elements I need in the story and are they well balanced:
·         hook,
·         inciting incident,
·         increasing complexities (three usually for a short story,  more for a novel)
·         crisis
·         climax
·         resolution 

In fact, I actually use this template to plan my stories but often that clear structure can get lost in all of the writing. We all find, don’t we, that characters can take on minds of their own, that we ourselves can so enjoy writing certain scenes that we hang on to them a bit too long and that we refuse to kill our darlings? We can also get bogged down in sub-plot. 

Sometimes, even when all of the ingredients are firmly there, it seems that something is lacking.  At that point it may be time to look at some other story theory.      

I’ve talked elsewhere about story theory on this blog – see the main post here.  Could one of those be applied to the text? 

Readers almost always expect the template and can be disappointed if it is not there. Is it our job perhaps to skew it a little so that we might take them by surprise?  

Literary fiction still has this there though it may be very subtle. In popular fiction and literary fiction it is more in your face. Often one more nasty thing happens just before the story resolves.
It really is worth getting this right. No matter how well you complete the other edits if the overall structure isn’t sound, the story will fail and probably not get published.  

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