It’s no big surprise that I did my VCFA graduate lecture on structure and story design. I love this topic. Thus, I’ve broken down the meat of my lecture into several posts that I will be sharing this month. Thus, I introduce the June blog series: Organic Architecture!
Recently I talked about the difference between literary talent and story talent, and this series is all about developing the story-talent side of a writer’s repertoire. Often we think there is only one way to structure and design a story. Yes, I’m talking about the influence of three-act structure, the hero’s journey, and Aristotle. Well, it turns out these ideas are not the only possibilities, and are actually pretty limiting!
And man, do I get excited when I read quotes like this:
Three act structure and Aristotilean terms (i.e. rising action, climax, denouement) “are so broad and theoretical as to be almost meaningless … they have no practical value for storytellers … [They are] surprisingly narrow … extremely theoretical and difficult to put into practice … Three act structure is hopelessly simplistic and in many ways just plain wrong. ” – John Truby (The Anatomy of Story).
He blew my mind when I read that quote. So, I set out to see what other options are available for structure and story design. This blog series will give an overview of what I learned on that journey. It will start with three-act structure and the hero’s journey (so we’re all on the same page), and then push to explore the limitations of that structure, and the other options available!
Here’s the blurb for my lecture:
Organic Architecture: Structure, Screenwriting, and Story Design
Thanks to American film, you may think that the only way to plot and structure your story is with three acts and a hero’s journey. But do you ever feel limited by this recipe? What if your novel doesn’t even fit into this template? From the point of view of a screenwriter-turned-novelist, this lecture will explore the limitations of classic design, then push into the wild-and-woolly territory of alternative plots and structures. What if you could develop a story design that is unique to your novel, and arises organically from its premise, characters, setting, and themes? Unchain yourself from formulaic storytelling and see how many options are really at your fingertips! Familiarity with the film Toy Story is suggested. Core Topics: Plot/Structure, Writing Process, Character, Theme.
Please stay tuned for this exciting blog series which will cover:
- Arch Plot and Classic Design
- The Limitations of Classic Design
- Alternative Plot Types
- Alternative Story Structures
- Designing Principals
- Finding Your Stories Organic Architecture