In the past two-plus years, I have accumulated almost 30 three-ring binders (some even 1 1/2" thick!) chock-full of story structure elements. And it has been quite a ride. It might even have the appearance to some people of overkill. But in my defense, as Jonathan Baldie, author of the new book The 24 Laws of Storytelling, recently wrote in an article titled Why a Lack of Planning is Killing Your Story:
"To the storyteller, story structure is really about spending time before you’ve even written the ﬁrst page, on a clear route map for everything that your story’s going to cover. Successful authors spend more time plotting out character arcs, designing each arc, and purposefully tracking the rising tension in their stories, than they do on the actual writing of words."
And that's what I've been doing. Preparing.
As I noted in my last post, for the past month or two I've been spending time reading and listening to audiobooks. I'm doing so in an attempt to improve my writing ability so that I can be the best storyteller I am capable of being. And it has been rewarding.
For example, I have listened to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman three times in the last month. Yes, three times. If you haven't read (or listened to) this book before, you MUST! Unbelievable. That's what I'm talking about.
I've also responded to a challenge called "Memento Mori" by Jonathan Baldie. And that challenge is to focus like a laser in 2019 on the things (relationships are already a given) for which I most want to be remembered if I were to unexpectedly die at the end of this year. I know it sounds morbid at first. But true-life proves it is always possible. At the top of my current list of things I want to accomplish in 2019, is the completion of the first book in my children's fantasy-adventure series. And so I write.
Be looking for a completed book by 2020. Memento Mori.