Thursday, 29 June 2017

Creative Pulse - Week 1 - Story Structure

Welcome to Creative Pulse!

Last year, we ran a ten-week summer course of creative writing exercises from respected experts in the field.

Did you miss it?
Here you go.

It was a great way to take time out and work on our skills, revisit the basics and focus on one area at a time. So much so, we're doing it again.

Stand by to tackle Saggy Plots, World-building, Imaginative Irresponsibility, Sensual Storytelling, Self-Editing and much more.

This course is FREE. No cash, no sign-up, just check into the blog on a Friday and join in.

Thanks to all our generous contributors and a special thanks to Julie Lewis for providing her beautiful photographs throughout.

Here comes Week One, by your hosts...

Story Structure: 3x3 = 10

Even if you’ve not heard of the three-act structure, you instinctively understand it.
You listened to nursery rhymes, heard songs, watched films, cartoons or TV series.
You understand how stories work.

Let’s start with three questions for each of the three acts.

Follow these instructions. Trust us.
  • Take a pencil and scribble down answers to the nine questions below.
  • Answer one at a time without looking at the next.
  • Answer all questions as Marty McFly from Back to the Future.

Act I

Opening: What is normal here?

Trigger: What happens to change normal?

Decision: What can I do to put things back to normal?

Act II

Attack: How do I deal with this new situation?

Obstacle(s): Why didn’t that work?

Disaster: What is the worst that could happen?


Regroup: How can I change my tactics or find help?

Climax: How do I use all my strengths to defeat disaster?

Coda: How have I changed? 

Regardless of genre, this works across the board as a sharp focus on storytelling structure.

Now take those questions and apply them to the protagonist of your WIP.

Answer in his/her/its words and voice.

If any one of these questions gives you pause, you've found your problem.

Tip: you can always add a skateboard.

Next week – Lorna Fergusson and The Dreaded Saggy Plot

Images by Julie Lewis

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