IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!
My 2019 Publishing Goals
I’ve been writing since I was six years old and started inflicting my work on others at age 18. By age 24 people stopped running away when I approached them with a new story and shortly thereafter I published my first one in the Rifter.
Wait you’re still reading?
Ok, the facts I’m supposed to list in a bio. As of this writing I’m 38 years old and live just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the beautiful town of Mill Valley. If you’re unsure how to find it just follow the smell of self-entitlement. Once you see the teens driving Teslas you’ll know you’re in the right place.
I live in a tiny studio that I can cross in (literally) five steps and don’t own an oven. But you know what? It’s worth it. I love developing iPhone apps and if you want to work in San Francisco you accept that rent for a tiny place costs more than most people’s mortgage.
If you and about 2 million other people start buying my books I promise to move out of Marin to a house in the redwoods up in Guerneville. No pressure. Wait that’s a lie. Pressure.
Story Structure First Act
by Usvaldo De Leon
Structuring a story is a challenge that writers meet in one of two ways: either they outline diligently before they write so much as a sentence, OR: they fire up the word maker and see what happens. The former are called plotters. The latter people are called pantsers and I am one of them.
The difference between the groups lies in how comfortable a writer is with chaos. To write is to literally visit a foreign land. Plotters like to have an itinerary. They know where they will be in the morning, where they are eating lunch, etc. Pantsers wake up and walk out the door with nary a thought for the day. Plotters attempt to impose control. Pantsers attempt to maximize experience.
I view writing as a discovery process. It lets me explore the characters, their interactions, the plot and setting. It lets me feel the story. I’m frequently surprised by what occurs, which leads me to more character driven, organic stories. For plotters, the outline process performs the same function. The end result for both groups is a story that is thematically and narratively coherent.
For me a story begins with either a situation or an image. If I see an image then it is usually the climax. Seven men on a sailboat in the Pacific. One of them is trying to sabotage the boat, everyone knows it and everyone is on edge. If I have a situation, it is usually the inciting incident. A dying billionaire wants to read his obituary so he fakes his death.
Why my brain works like this is not something I think about. I believe it is churlish to be picky about how one receives inspiration. One does not find a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk and get upset it was not a twenty. Inspiration is a gift.
Next I figure out the bones of the story, a.k.a. structure. Authors use story structure because it is how people’s brains and hearts respond to narrative.
In the first act, the character sees a flaw in the normal world and ventures into the unknown to fix it. In the second act, the character faces myriad challenges to create a solution to the problem. In the third act, the character braces for a final showdown to win the prize and restore the normal world. This template covers everything from Star Wars to Liar Liar and all points in between.