Structure and the Lack Thereof

The District Line has been utter crap this week, and I’m now being told that I’m likely to be a good half-hour late to work this morning.  Still, it does mean I get more time to write, which makes me wonder if the train drivers union got hold of book 1 and are “encouraging” me to finish the sequels.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about plot lately, particularly regarding the 3-act structure.   This particular bout of intellectualism was brought on when I watched “About Time,” the new time-travel romantic comedy movie where a fellow, upon coming of age, learns from his dad that time-travel is a kind of family trait.

It’s a decent enough movie, but not among my favorites of the year.  The major issue I had was that while I was enjoying each individual piece of the story (the protagonist uses his newly-discovered abilities in some rather cute and interesting ways throughout), each of those pieces never really seemed to fit into a connected whole.  It’s as though the screenwriter said, “Hmm, if I could travel back to any point in my life and change things, what would I do?” and then wrote down a bunch of scenarios that made him giggle.

There’s an over-arcing theme, of sorts, and the lesson our main character learns at the end is…well, it’s a load of crap, really, but it was told in a way that made it sound interesting and pleasant, but the thing is that there’s no real structure to the story.  I kept expecting it to be over, and it just kept on going, which was kind of frustrating.

The reason I’ve been so concerned about structure lately is that this was the first time I’ve really seen this concept as being particularly important, something that could actually be missed, if absent.  “Knight of the Flame” can be roughly divided into three acts, but, to be honest, that was more of a happy accident than anything else.  Now, I have to take a good look at the plot of book two and make damn certain that it’s got some structure.  It used to be that people read physical books, with paper and ink and stuff, and so one always had a sense of how much of the story was left, but today, with e-books, there’s a very real danger of somebody having the same “Oh, it isn’t over yet?” reaction that I had to the time-travel movie.

I keep making little recordings this week, but the fact is that the day-job has been tiring me the hell out, so I’ve not made too much progress in the recording of the audiobook.  I’ve got a good feeling about the weekend, though. 

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