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Secrets of Successful Narrative

Magic Wand in Hand

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Structure of the Work

Since the school days, we have been taught the unshakable formula "entry-the main part-conclusion." How important is it for the author to remember the structure of the text and do you need it at all?

Do Not Write at Random

It would seem that writing is a creative process that is not connected very much with such mundane concepts as planning, systematization, and structuring. But it is not so. The writer needs not only to express his/her ideas on paper, he/she needs to communicate them to the reader. Thus, the form in which the thoughts couched directly affects their perception.

If you write without thinking, the result may be unpredictable. Traditionally, five elements of the structure of a literary work are distinguished: exposition, outset, development, climax, and denouement.

The Meaning of the Elements of the Structure

In the exposition, the author introduces us into the narrative, shows the background, the time, the place of action, and introduces the characters. In the outset, the main conflict of the work arises, and the ground is prepared for the plot entanglements. Missing the outset is tantamount to refusing to tell the doctor about the symptoms of the illness in anticipation of a correct diagnosis.

In development, we learn the history itself: the conflicts and contradictions are identified, we begin to understand characters better. By the time of the culmination, everything has reached its climax: the characters of the heroes are bright, the conflict is heated to the limit, the events unfold swiftly. Then, there is a key turn that is crucial for the work.

Writer's Table

Depending on the number of story lines and the author's intention in the work, there may be several climaxes, but there will be still the one to dominate among them. Here, it is appropriate to recall the principle of the golden ratio, according to which each part of the whole refers to the other, like the whole to the first part. This principle is present in all forms of art, including literature. No, no, we do not call to calculate the number of signs of each element of the structure, but these elements should harmoniously combine with each other and with the volume of the whole work.

The denouement describes events that occur after the point of no return is passed. We learn about the future of the heroes, about the consequences that led to the events of the culmination. Sometimes the denouement comes with a culmination. It can be both a direct continuation of the events as well as sudden and unexpected but still connected with the previous stages of the narrative.

If the events of the book are thought out and are part of one story, then it is interesting and easy to follow them. The reader will be able to concentrate and evaluate your style and original idea, he/she does not have to turn pages frantically trying to remember why the hero was in this situation and who became the reason for this.

How Does It Work?

In this article, we outlined the classical plot scheme in general terms. The composition, of course, can be different: original, innovative, or provocative; it can be linear, reverse, detective, but it must be thought out and logical. The main thing: it should be!

Sometimes the structure becomes a vivid artistic device. The author conceived various schemes of reading the novel, which he himself described in the preface. It is worth to remember Nabokov and his Pale Fire – a poem of 999 lines with a non-linear structure and several variants of reading.

Where to Begin?

Before you start, take a few notes about the future events in your work. What will happen in the outset and the development that will lead to the main – the climax; then identify a few major points of denouement. You just need to fill in the blanks between the indicated points. Such a scheme, no matter how you designed it, will allow you to have always before your eyes the story that you have conceived, but you do not need to keep it in your head all the time; that will allow you to concentrate directly on the work.

Let us hit the road and good luck!

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