The Spiral Notebook

writer and editor Lacy Boggs

Writing Update: Story Structure


I’ve made an important decision: I’m going to do everything in my power to get as close to finishing my book as possible by May, so that I can take part in a conference being put on by the Rocky Mountain SCBWI.

Which means I need to get cracking!

I’ve been working through the posts over at Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog, The Dark Salon, in which she talks about applying tools of the screenwriter’s trade to writing a novel, and it’s totally reinvigorated me to slog through my second act and get where I’m going.

But one of the most important things she talks about is working through your own list of books (or movies) like the one you’re writing, and studying the structure. I always look at assignments like that and think, what a good idea! I should do that! And then never do.

Well, no more. I’m going to work through at least a couple of the books/movies on my list and I thought I’d post them here, for good measure.

Of course, the first thing on my list was Harry Potter, but Sokoloff’s already done a great breakdown of the first film on her blog. So, I’ll use that as a template and a starting point. I think I might use the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because it’s one of my favorites in the series and had a huge emotional payoff for me.

After that, I might do the first Pendragon book, The Merchant of Death, because I think it’s important to get a good idea of how you set up a story like this.

After that, who knows! I’ve got a nice long list of books that I love and have influenced me, so we’ll see where we get to. If anyone is interested in coming along with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on structure and see any books or movies you’ve workshopped as well!

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