I’ve asked a few writers now if they use story structure during their planning stages. I’m surprised to hear not many do, and some of those same people are shocked to think that I restrict myself from the freedom of writing by using an established structure when writing.
My view is that without structure, you’re creating blind. It’s like saying you’re a guitarist without ever knowing chords or notes. Whilst it is possible to continue to write without, it’s far better to be aware of it before you lose out to white paper syndrome.
Story structure began thousands of years ago. We’ve just only known in the last three thousand odd years that there is a definition to it.
Aristotle was the first to define structure by declaring every story to have three acts. A beginning, a middle and an end.
Joseph Campbell later wrote about the Hero’s Journey. Quite a take on mythology and the most revered author on the matter to date.
Whilst Jazz musician’s can create notes freely as they play, it is only pleasant to the ear due to them understanding the foundation and structure to playing in the same key that makes us enjoy their freedom so much.
So to the writers out there who believe they don’t need to know story structure… you have likely been following structure, unknown to it. Now take some time to learn about it and you’ll be better for it. So to your audience.
I’ve had the chance to learn from a successful YA (Young Adult) author, Jacqueline Harvey. It’s been quite an experience and Jacqueline makes the perfect mentor with a background as a primary school teacher. This insight really gives her an advantage over others with the experience of knowing more about the audiences she now writes to. If you ever see the opportunity where Jacqueline is teaching or speaking, go out of your way to see her. For Sydney siders, you should keep an eye out for Jacqueline through the Sydney Writers’ Festival or the NSW Writers’ Centre.
My personal interest in pursuing writing for children has come from my background as a cartoonist and animator. It’s a natural progression or at least a transition for me to move to literature. And I’d like the chance to not only draw, but explore more in the written form.
If you are interested in writing for children’s literature there are a few places you might like to read up first.
Writers Digest - a source of information about writing in general. I subscribe to their digital magazine and have found many articles that shed light on issues I have faced when writing. And the digital subscription is the cheap alternative to the paper version too!
Persnickety Snark - run by an Australia teacher that currently resides in Japan. The blog has reviews, discussion posts and interviews with an emphasis placed on Australian authors.
Kidlit.com - is the site owned by Mary Kole and has a dedicated interest in writing for YA and MG. Plenty of inspirational information and well worth bookmarking. Mary has also written a book on Writing Irresistable Kidlit.
Working on an idea that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’ll make things much easier for artists to know what to do to make a great and engaging story.
It’s been some time, but I got around to uploading it. I presented at the Australian Cartoonists Association’s national conference where I spoke alongside Peter Viska (Viskatoons) and Michael Jantze (the Norm). My talk was about pitching an idea to the larger networks and how to go about it, as well as how to create and prepare for pitching and some of the feedback I had received during my pitches.
They start early these days!
Dreamworks artist publication - Moonshine : Artists after dark - is a wonderful piece showcasing the talent of the team working at the studio.