I break down and analyze books for structure. It’s not a new idea but not one I always followed. I’d say, “Eh, I’ll just read and soak it up.” When I analyzed my first book last summer I was amazed by all I learned.
One of my goals for this year is to be more active in growing in craft. So after I broke down my first movie, I processed what I learned by writing it down for a blog post. And it helped even more.
(I was amazed to learn that Blake Snyder worked on the screenplay for HTYD. At his website, here’s a breakdown of the movie. And yes, it’s slightly different than my breakdown.)
You might wonder why I broke down a movie first. Well, I’d read a book with the intent of using it, but when I’d finished analyzing it, I came to a conclusion. The book did not have a great structure, and I think suffered because of it. So, I couldn’t use it for my blog. I was bummed. Later that week I sat down to watch a movie with my kids. When I recognized great structure within the first few minutes, I grabbed my notebook.
For many, story structure comes naturally. And for me, it does to a certain point, but when I tweak my story specifically to structure – guess what? My story is stronger.
Structure affects almost everything.
- Story arc
- Character arc
It’s worth it to apply story structure techniques to your writing whether you’re a pantser or a plotter.
Next I’ll be breaking down a book I found had excellent structure. Yay!