Monday, February 13, 2012

Creator, Preserver, Destroyer - Three Part Structure

In yogic philosophy the number three has great power. It represents beginnings, middles, and endings, just as in Hinduism Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer.

An old writer's maxim is that all stories need to have a beginning, middle, and end, even if their demarcations are subtle. Syd Field, author of Screenplay, says all screenplays should follow a three act structure with Act I getting your character into trouble (the first 30 minutes), Act II making the trouble much worse (the next 60 minutes), and Act III resolving it (the last 30 minutes).

There's something about the number three that speaks to storytelling.

If you've read a story that doesn't resolve you know there is something missing, just as if the beginning is wrong what comes after doesn't work, or if nothing happens in the middle it will make you put the work down.

This three-part structure can work for you whether you write sudden fiction, a full length novel, a song, or a play.

Writing prompt:
Here's my challenge for you today. Write a short-short or sudden fiction of 250 words or less (not one word longer) that has a beginning, middle, and end. Mark for yourself the number of words in your beginning, your middle, and your end and see if you can use 60, 130, and 60 words per section (25%/50%/25%). Use the number three in the story in some way, shape, or form. 

We'll take entries through the 23rd, and put up the best on Friday February 24.
- Joe Lunievicz

1 comment:

  1. Too busy for this today, but as usual, it's an awesome prompt. I need to work on story structure in my novels. It's definitely one of the things I need to improve the most.