Basic Story Structure Is Innate

The following is my experience entering the realm of story writing.

Context

When I started out to be a writer, I was intimidated and overwhelmed by having to worry about so many things (e.g., premise, theme, beats, hooks, acts, arc, etc.) to even start to consider story ideas.  For a while I could not even get started at writing anything; no ideas, no nothing.  I thought that perhaps I might be a failure at writing just because I could not even get started with an idea.

Then, while I was updating my web site blog one day, I ran across blog posts that I had written in story format.  I wrote these on my own before I had even started studying about story development.  Obviously, I did not know anything about story structure when I wrote the posts and yet they conformed to the basic elements of plot structure.

I was amazed at this happenstance and started thinking about why I had done what I did and if I could use this simplified approach in writing actual stories to get started at writing something (anything!).  I am writing this to share what I learned from analyzing what I had done.

Experience

What called my attention to what I had done in my blog post was the use of three parts to what I had written.  I had unconsciously use three-act structure to partition what I was writing.  It was just natural to what I had undertaken to write.  I had used headers of “Context”, “Experience”, and “Assessment” which I could clearly see corresponded to “Act 1: Setup”, “Act 2: Endeavor”, and “Act 3: Resolution”.  I suppose that other header titles could be used as well as the ones that I used.  The important thing is that a three-act structure had been used.

At first, I thought this was the extent of the correlation of what I had done with actual story structure.  However, when I tried to duplicate what I had done with another topic, it became clear that something else was needed as well.  I finally realized that the blog posts that I had written were about me and were written in the third person.

So, I tried again to duplicate what I had done in my blog posts, but this time I wrote using myself as the “protagonist” with third person pronouns.  It was like magic.  I was easily able to write another “story” using this approach of three-acts and a “protagonist”.

Using just “I” as the protagonist seemed a little restrictive, so I considered how this might be expanded to other protagonists.  The first thing that occurred to me is that I could just change the first-person pronouns to third-person pronouns and write a “story” about someone else.  From this it then became clear that any protagonist name could be used in place of the pronouns.  This opens the door to being able to write many “stories” about various protagonists based on this simplified approach.

With a little more reflection, brainstorming and writing, it also became apparent that this approach could be expanded gradually by the introduction of other plotting elements.  Over time in doing this, the result is the ability to write standardly plotted stories.

Assessment

This seemed to me a wonderful discovery that needed to be shared with others.  This story that I have just presented to you is an example of the simplified approach to story writing that I discovered.  The post that inspired this story is My Testimony (see the “Supernatural Experiences” section).  I hope that you find this approach useful to your entrance into story writing.

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