When to Apply Structure to Your Story

In every developing story there is already a fuzzy proto-narrative forming within your subject matter.

This proto-narrative occurs because though people think ABOUT topics, they think IN narrative form. Narrative is just a map of all the perspectives we have at our disposal with which to explore a problem and look for a solution.

If one way of examining the issues isn’t explored, it leaves a hole that is felt by the readers/audience because we all intuitively look for narrative meaning.

If there is inconsistency in the perspectives so that they keep drifting away from an objective reporting of what the real issues are, then the readers/audience sense a biased presentation and question the whole message, even to the point of rejecting the entire experience.

But you really can’t create by building the narrative structure first because the inventive mind doesn’t work that way. If you try to direct your Muse to focus on logistics, she’ll go on strike. So, you have to let her range free – at least at first. You create your story’s world, who’s in it, what happens, and what it means.

And because we think in narrative form, you will automatically have organized your story ideas into a pattern that provides meaning, that generally explores most of the angles and documents most of the stages and steps simply by describing a journey from problem to solution.

Still, because creativity is driven by passion, not logic, the development of your initial story concept usually results in a narrative that is not complete and not completely on course. So, that is when the analytical mind comes into play – to find and refine the narrative structure already forming in your story.

Applying structure to your concept at the right time supports your inspiration, provides your story with a clear and distinct spine, and maximizes your impact.

Melanie Anne Phillips