To Structure or not to structure

Story Structure


It’s been a while since I last wrote about craft. Mmmm too long. So today I’m going to share a little about what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve started to work on a new work in progress (wip), my main project, which is still my main project and is not forgotten as this new wip is somewhat a little related. I struggled, in the beginning, deciding whether this new project should be in the midsts of the main project because you know what *they* ‘write something new just in case.’ So I’ve met all the requirements, I’m writing something new just in case. *insert smug emoji* But more on this later.

I’m not a pantser or a plotter, I’m somewhere in between. I like to have an idea of where I’m going while also leaving room for surprises. Last November I wrote all the backstory I set out to write seven short stories and ended up with five which surprisingly ended up being sort of chronological order. I didn’t write them in chronological order, but that’s what happened. It was a nice surprise. I left it alone and haven’t looked at it since although I have a feeling that I should soon. For this new project, I want more of a structure that I didn’t have at the beginning of the main story, and I will forever refer to my very first ms as *the main story*. This project, I decided to apply more of what I learned along writing that very first, second, third, fourth…drafts. Structure is not for everyone, I know, but I feel it will help me to not wander around both in the story and while writing it. Examples, you can check out this post here or this one (where I apparently let the story breathe for 3 MONTHS!). I removed A LOT of scenes and bits from all the drafts and rewrote nearly all of it because there was so much that didn’t go anywhere, was not necessary, didn’t have a purpose to the plot, didn’t make sense. Right, I was learning how to write a book while writing said book and learning the story myself, but it took some time and tears to revise.  I’m glad I did it though. The crying helped too.

The last post I mentioned letting go of the noise and here’s how I’m going to apply it to my writing time: I’m going to create some sort of structure (because I’m not a big fan of overly structured things) and have fun with it (i.e., less crying? 😂).

Here is what I’m using:

  • A notebook solely for this new project
  • Lots of pens of all colors
  • Highlighters
  • Flashcards (I don’t really like using flashcards, so we’ll see how this goes)
  • Word
  • Two doors front and back to visually outline using the flashcards

Now, because there’s no set chapter count for YA fantasy (I don’t think) so I’m sticking to thirty and going for about 80,000 words so I have breathing room to remove and add words. Also maybe less is more? I tend to overwrite so *walks away whistling*.

Currently debating whether to break it down even more and write a chapter at a time or scenes at a time. Not sure which would be easiest. I’ve been writing chapters at a time and it’s worked just fine, but for this one, I think I’ll work scene by scene.


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