1. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Deconstructing a short story.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Thanshin, Jun 7, 2010.

    Do you think a short story can be deconstructed into a tree of concepts such as:

    - Premise: Guy jumps out of a window but can fly.
    --Plot element1: Guy is on top of a building.
    --PE2: Guy jumps.
    --...
    --PEn: Guy flies.
    - Characters
    --C1: dumb, tall, suicidal, x, y, z, ..., can fly.
    --...
    - Sections: start, middle, end.
    --start
    ---Scene 1
    ----Paragraph 1: Presentation of the setting
    ----P2: C1(tall and x)
    ----P3: C1(dumb, suicidal);
    ----P4: ...


    If you think that completely desconstructing a story into its elements is possible, I have another question: Could a story be written from one such tree of elements?

    And lastly, if you think that writing a story from a decomposition of its elements is possible, do you think the Paragraphs could be distributed among many writers, so each one writes a tiny part while using the common elements, and that the story would make sense at the end?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many ways you can decompose a story. Many dimensions along which you can project the story to deconstruct it. You have chosen to break it down by the writing sequence and events.

    You could also break it down by the dynamics of interacting plots. What is each plot's actor, goal, motivation, and opposition? This will give you a different composition. In some cases, a chronological decomposition wikk be more useful, and may differ from decomposition from the writing sequence.

    As for composing a story from a similar structure, that is outlining. Writers naturally develop stories from outlines, whether or not they acrually put them to paper.

    What it comes down to is what deccmposition, or decompositions, are most useful to you.

    As for the team question, I am not a great believer in writing by committee. A piece of fiction is more than a sequence of events. It hasmultiple dimensions *hense the different ways it can be decomposed, and even then it is bound together by the writer's unique voice. Collaborations are problematic, and only work when the collaborators have a special depth of communication (not to mention a solid contract specifying the division of responsibilities).
     
  3. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    That's my true underlying curiosity. How would a story written by different authors (ideally a paragraph per author) look?

    How obvious would that inherent soul* on the original text be, having the soulless example to compare it to?


    *: On a purely pragmatic sense.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It could be very obvious indeed.

    Have ten people write the same hundred word flash, using a predetermined character and actions, and you'll see how different the writing styles can be.
     

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