Damning Structure

(Photo Courtesy of – Rickety Bridges! Need I say more?)

Dear World

Please Kill Me,

Greetings and happy Cyber Monday my crew of technologically inseminated. As always I hope that you all enjoyed your weekend (post “turkey massacre” day) and that you’ve returned to me in good health (and failing that, at least returned well enough to hit the “like” button).

Seeing that NaNoWriMo is coming to a close, it seems fitting to start the week off with a bit of overall writing advice (for those of you just here for the ride -don’t worry- I’ll drop an F-bomb or something else inappropriate in the mix). With that said, let’s begin Damning Structure. 

Many of us (if not all) know the old tropes of writing. We know; the styles that are near-universally acclaimed, the complexities that endure criticism, and the abstract that are initially panned. The question here becomes, “Which format is best for telling my story?”. The answer (or at least the one that you’re most likely to get) is entirely dependent on the subsequent genre.

“There are rules”, is what I believe my college professor used to say (as I handed in stories that read more like the screenplay of a Quentin Tarantino movie). I will tell you now, what I told him then – “Fuck the rules”, (See!!! I did it). I got an A- in that class (the minus was for me being a douche-nozzle).

Don’t get me wrong, obviously, there are certain rules of writing that you can’t escape (like constructing a f**kin’ sentence), other than that – unless you’re dealing with an absolute anal reader or one of those people who’re obsessed with math, (but suck in the creative arts #Policians) – you can generally get away with writing in a structure that suits your communicative needs -as long as it makes sense (don’t fall into the trap of needlessly galavanting in every direction).

*Remember – toying with structure -is a means to an end. Don’t do it unless your story requires it. An easy way to recognize if it does or does not is how the story plays out in your mind. If it plays out linear, write it linear. If it doesn’t -then write it how you want it to be read. Don’t go jumbling your initial narrative in the hopes of being “dynamic” – you’ll just piss people off.

I’m a strong believer in the importance of initial creative impulse. Most times when writing, I see the story as fluid. As I write, the path and surprises essentially develop themselves. Sometimes it’s linear, other times it’s not – the point is that I always trust the story to point me in the right direction (it’s bad practice to toss your creative impulses in the trash).

Even if you’re unsure, you need to keep in mind that half of what makes your story great, is how it’s told. If you attempt to conform to anything else – you’re basically following in the footsteps of the overdone. (This isn’t a textbook, it’s rhetoric, it’s narrative – treat it with importance and trust it. Your faith will be rewarded).

So with this, I say “DAMN STRUCTURE!”. In a world filled with millions of different stories told the same way -why not differentiate- by telling the story that you were meant to tell -in your way? As long as you put in the time, effort, and skill – I see no issue with embracing the gift non-traditionalism. (Again, AS LONG AS IT MAKES SENSE!)

*waves staff over fire-pit*

“Now go! Write plenty! May your pages be brim with seed!”

*burns hand on fire*

“OWWWW!!!!”

Seriously, get out of here! See you tomorrow.

 

If you write it, they will come,

-Antwan Crump.

 

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