Saturday, June 11, 2016

Alternative Story Structures

I keep coming back to the issue of structure of a story and pondering alternatives to the three-part/act design.

For those of you who do not know what I am talking about here is a simple explanation:
Structure is the way the story is presented to the reader.  It is NOT the plot, the time-sequence, or the style.  It IS the way the events logically proceed, regardless of the physical or chronological arrangement presented.  All stories, plays, and movies are structured in three acts/parts; try-fail, try-fail, try-epiphany/denouement. The plot contained within this structure might be the hero's journey, a romantic adventure, or simply a puzzle piece.  The story might wander all over creation (if it's a novel), or jump back and forth chronologically.  You can even start telling the story with the epiphany and work backwards. I've done all of these and, regardless of how I write them, there's always a three-part structure underlying the story.

I wonder if the three-part structure has something to do with our mental makeup; an inherent part of human thinking processes. Perhaps this has to do with the way we experience time as a sequence of events and have a bias toward chronological order.   Or the tripartite story might have something to do with impatience - any  number of try-fail beyond three becomes boring and suspense prolonged too long bores us. Or maybe three acts are the most we can hold in our head at a time without confusion.  The three partness of story telling certainly has been with us since the dawn of recorded  history and I'm sure our simian ancestors  used it to spin campfire tales.

Given the above, is there possibly another STRUCTURE that would facilitate story telling? If so, I certainly want to hear about it.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my blog!