Monday, July 29, 2013

Skeleton of the Novel

I recently found an amazing eBook by CJ Lyons that talks about three-act structure. I was skeptical to check it out at first because I have not found many of the writing formulas to be very helpful in the past, but, boy, am I glad I gave this eBook a shot!

I love movies. I watch many of them. I also watch many television programs, mostly fictional, and I am always amazed when something hooks me. It's hard to figure out what really drags me along when I watch something like Downton Abbey, or Lord of the Rings - but it's undeniable that something catches me and gives me the desire to follow the episode or movie through to the end. I never thought it was the structure of the story. I always believed it had something to do with the plot, the setting, or any other myriad of things. But, the structure of the story? That sounds crazy!

But, I started a test outline of a novel using the three act structure the past two days, and I am blown away at how exciting it is to see the structure of a story as I come up with ideas for the plot and characters. It's like seeing the track of a roller coaster before actually zooming down the loops and curves. What I previously believed about fitting into a mold when it comes to story structure, that it would make me feel stuck and rigid - I am glad to say that the exact opposite has happened. Instead I feel like a million opportunities have laid themselves before me. Having a map before diving into a large project is essential for me.

If you have struggled with pacing, building tension, or any other novel-related issues in your own work, check out No Rules, Just Write! by CJ Lyons. It is well worth the time. I feel energized every time I read another section about the three-act structure. Now, for more time working with Scrivener...my new obsession!