4 years ago1,000+ Views
Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds wrote an inspiring article about story structure and narrative architecture that I just can't get enough of.
I would tell you to just go read it, but it's mildly NSFW, and I do want to talk about some of my favorite points, so while I recommend you go read it yourself if you can, let's talk a little bit about what Wendig has to share about narrative structure. Because it's pretty useful.
Wendig wants to make his process from writing to editing as clean as possible, shaping the story's structure as he goes so that a major overhaul isn't needed. What this means is he thinks about the structure as he begins, deciding which type of structure for the narrative might be best. Let's take a look at some structure types:

The Jagged Mountain:

"The peaks are moments of tension, conflict, action, pain. The valleys are moments of temporary resolution, release, dialogue, development. The peak is the sharp intake of breath; the valley is the exhalation of that breath. A peak steals the oxygen; the valley returns it."
This up-and-down motion gives a piece rhythm, and helps a reader move through the story knowing that something is always developing

The Insane Roller Coaster:

Wendig shares three awesome lessons:
1. Stories are all different; so are roller coasters. It doesn't really matter what path your story takes as long as it takes one. 2. Roller coasters go up, and back, building momentum over time that eventually launches you into the loops of the story. Remember that. 3. Stories aren't predictable, and they go in all directions. "They go in ways you don’t expect because subverting expectation is something every great story does at some point or another."

Clockwork Craziness

"What it’s saying is that all the parts of your story should have a chance to come back into the story again and again. It means you do not introduce an element — plot, character, object, twist — without come back to it later. "

Pick Your Narrative Flavor

" Salt: grit, conflict, pain, attitude. Sugar: sentiment, emotion, sweetness. Fat: backstory, extraneous character dialogue, description."
Take your pick and mix together for the ultimate narrative. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out Wendig's advice on his blog.
@hikaymm Great! Good luck.
This is so cool to think about. I've drawn diagrams of plot structure before, but I've never thought about them in this way. I'll give it a try!
@timeturnerjones This might help with those questions you asked me before about piece planning.