Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

The Shape of A Story

Readers know the “shape” of a story from reading it. Writers must “craft” that shape.

Like most aspects of writing, there are varied avenues leading to the destination–each story could  be seen as shaping itself.

In a very broad artistic sense, the shape could be called the Dramatic Structure–how the story moves from one point to another.

Many authors speak of their “Story Arc” and, if you try a Google search for that, good luck with interpreting how all the conflicting views can be correlated

As I’ve indicated before, I’m using Google Plus a lot these days. Recently, I noticed that Michael Kelly had shared a link that Paul Carroll saw in his Stream and shared with me.

The link lead to a video of Kurt Vonnegut talking about the shape of stories.

While quite humorous, I, as a writer, found the demonstration rooted in an often over-complexified Truth:

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2 responses to “The Shape of A Story

  1. Jane Watson September 13, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I loved Kurt Vonnegut’s book, ‘Breakfast Of Champions’. I read it as a budding writer and I was blown away that a writer could enter the space he inhabits in that book. I remember putting it down at the end and thinking: ‘So a writer can do that?’ It seemed to suggest to me far wider horizons and methods of thought than I had previously entertained. So I love this video about story structure :) Yes it is tongue in cheek, as so much of Vonnegut is, but underneath the humour (yeah we spell it that way in Australia :) usually resides a truth – in this case: write the story you need to write not what the diagrams tell you!


    • Alexander M Zoltai September 13, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Oh, my, Jane!

      “…write the story you need to write not what the diagrams tell you!”

      Oh, my, Yes !!


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