In my voyage to uncover whether I'm a pantster (write by the seat of your pants) or a plotter (self-explanatory), I discovered the Story Fix blog.
My friend Lee had already sent me the recent Wall Street Journal article, How To Write a Great Novel. (I'm not sure you can still read it online from that link, but all you need is this StoryFix blog entry to take you right there.) Then I found the Story Fix guy, Larry Brooks, who analyzes and takes apart the original article and tells us why it doesn't exactly work out that way.
Still, the WSJ had some good points. And when I read this quote, it reminded me to read the book that just won the National Book Award:
To research his 2009 novel "Let the Great World Spin," which is set in New York in the 1970s and is a finalist for the National Book Award, Mr. McCann went on rounds with homicide and housing cops, read oral histories of prostitutes from the era and watched archival film footage.
One thing always leads to another in this blogging world. Read the Wall Street Journal article just for fun. Then click on over to see Larry Brooks' opinion on why it's important to know the ending before we begin. And if all this talk of story structure sends you running in another direction, pick up one of the books mentioned in the article. Knowing a writer reads his characters' lines out loud, or tears up a million beginnings, just might make the book-- if it doesn't completely destroy the reading experience-- a lot more interesting.
Related posts: Beginnings
Great Writing Advice