Storytelling is about choices, and there are plenty of them. I just started a novel, and now I’m sitting in the ever-present ambiguity that is “creativity.” Every writer approaches these decisions differently, but the general question becomes: Are you a planner? Or do you just jump in?
For every writer that scrawling out extensive diagrams, there’s another that just grabs some paper and a pen before going to town. I fall somewhere in the middle. A framework helps me remember where I’m going and what the reader will find interesting.
In college, I read a book by Syd Field called The Screenwriter’s Workbook. It has been one of the most influential books in my collection. Every time I sit down to write a story, I go through the process Mr. Field discusses in this book. Yes, it is a screenwriting approach, but it supplies the principles of good storytelling, no matter the medium.
The basic element in this framework involves evenly dividing your story into four distinct pieces. Then, you interrupt those segments with three critical Plot Points. Each of the four segments develops a piece of the story, and the Plot Point reveals something that keeps the reader intrigued and interested.
It’s a pretty cool framework, and it works really well. Every now and again I revisit the book just to remind myself of how stories can be told effectively. I’ll discuss the concept more throughout the month, but in the meantime, how do you set yourself up to write? What methods do you use?