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  1. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Writers! Thoughts needed on structure

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by Alex R. Encomienda, Nov 22, 2016.

    Hello beautiful writers!

    This WIP has been going on and on since last May and I'm nearing the end so I'll soon start on my draft number two.

    What I noticed about it as well as others have pointed out here is that since I don't have chapters in my WIP it reads and reads until either the pov switches to a character elsewhere or an arc ends/begins usually with the following:

    *****

    So I had the idea of titling scenes in the story similar to the bible's stories. The WIP would be broken up into three large parts and within the parts there would be scenes of say 5-20 pages and each scene would have a title (eg. Harold visits Goldenstein, The monkey situation etc.)

    I just never liked the idea of chapters within parts; it seems sloppy.

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Hello Alex,

    In terms of structure, (I'll use the 3-act structure for the purpose of this conversation,) There are four parts to a story. I'll give a brief description of what happens in each part, but there is more that goes into each part than I can write in a single post.

    Act 1: we meet your characters, something challenges the main character(s), and the character(s) deciding to take on the challenge is what push the story into act II.

    Act 2 before the midpoint: Traditionally, your MC(s) are having success, making friends, and possibly meeting a person he or she will fall in love with. This end with some great victory at the midpoint (you could do the reverse and have a great defeat, but I want to keep this explanation simple.)

    Act 2 after the midpoint: Things start to get tougher for your characters. Bad people are up to no good, and your characters suffer a bit. Act 2 usually ends with some tragic event, a good crying session, and the MC(s) decision to take on the final bad guy.

    Act 3: Your MC(s) storm the bad guy's castle (or whatever place he is dwelling at), defeat his minions, battle the big bad, and have a happy ending.

    As for chapters, I only have one POV in my story, but I usually put the chapter end at a note of suspense (Like how T.V always cuts to a commercial before they tell you who the baby-daddy is.)

    Hope this helps.
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't know why you wouldn't just use chapters. There's nothing sloppy about having chapters. Try not to make things more complicated than they have to be.
     
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  4. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Well chapters are beneficial and I would love to use them if it wasn't for the structure I already have. It'll be difficult to squeeze in divisions where divisions are already at. I don't think it'll over complicate things if done well but if it's out of place and sloppy then yes it'll be very complicated.
     
  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    It actually sounds like you're doing chapters already, just calling them something else.
     
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  6. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Yes but as opposed to traditional chapters, the titles seem more fitting within the giant 'parts'. What would you feel is more fitting:

    Part I: The maps of Josish

    Chapter 1

    Yadayadayada..

    Or...

    Part I: The maps of Josiah

    The beginning

    Blahblahblah..
     
  7. Peper Shaker

    Peper Shaker Member

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    I also think you're just giving chapters titles. Nothing wrong with chapters, or titles. Do your thing and then see if you like it, it's nothing major and can easily be changed in the end, as long as you have the divisions between parts well established.
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I agree that these just seem like un-numbered chapters.

    Is there something specific you're concerned about?
     
  9. Malisky

    Malisky Fortune cookie Contributor

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    In some books I read the structure goes as this:

    Miles Heller (on a page alone, indicator of whose story we are following)

    1 (on the following page, where the text begins) and then...
    2
    3
    etc...
    then

    Maurice Heller

    1
    2
    3

    (This is from Sunset Park by the way).

    Usually "parts" are used to divide the overall story of the book (since a book is considered one whole story), in just a few places (you can't have many "parts" or else their meaning wouldn't make sense) where either the character which we are following changes or the theme of the story changes significantly (for example we begin following our character as a child living in a farm in part 1 and then in part 2 he is a famous actor in Hollywood). The you can divide the story within the parts into chapters. Chapters divide the progression of the story and work as many things (too many different styles and reasons to mention but I assume you already know) but mostly as breathers for the reader as well as bookmarks. You can have many chapters in a book.

    Then there is this reason for a part: A book is divided in thematic chapters which are loooong. The author chose to divide his story with just a few chapters and at some point he saw that a theme took much more text to it, therefore making it twice as long than the rest of the chapters. He decided to split this chapter in 2 parts to balance it out with the rest. For example:

    Chapter 8 - The Match / Part I -> We see our character that struggled so much within the whole story, make it to the finals and this chapter is about the long awaited box fight with the main antagonist. In this part of the chapter we see our character enter the ring and start fighting. At some point he loses ground. Is he going to lose?

    Chapter 8 - The Match / Part II -> Our character struggles and manages to get out of his previous losing state somehow and now he is winning ground. He knocks out the antagonist. He wins.

    It's the same setting, the same two characters, the same theme. The "part" change usually happens before the plot twist when the things aren't looking good. It builds suspense. Is our character going to win or lose? (Because he might actually lose).

    You can divide your story in whichever stylistic manner you chose, at least it makes sense and helps your story achieve whatever you wish it to achieve. I've never read any rule about chapters or parts, never had to since by reading books I already understand their purpose and how each author uses them according to their style. This is just an observation of mine upon parts and how I come to understand them.
     
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  10. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Well it's nothing that can't be fixed but I thought it would be neater and fitting for the titles instead of the chapters because that is already a structure of its own. I would have left the parts without any other divisions at first choice but many stated that it is too long of a read without an end.
     
  11. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    That's fine. Quentin Tarantino does something similar.

    For general structure, I'd look at https://www.youtube.com/user/clickokDOTcoDOTuk/videos
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

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