on Helping Writers become Authors:
Structural timing is one of most prominent features of story structure. This positioning of a story’s important turning points is one of the keys for creating a story that feels right to audiences. As often as not, when something seems off about a story, the problem can be narrowed down to wonky structural timing. This makes structural timing one of the most accessible tools writers can use to troubleshoot weak areas of a story.
However, structural timing is also an aspect of story structure that many writers find frustrating or confusing. How are you supposed to time a story when even you may not be sure how long the finished draft will be? Doesn’t following a precise map for a story’s timing mean your story is more likely to feel formulaic to readers? And, perhaps most commonly, just how precise does a story’s structural timing…
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I’ve had this question from M:
I’m writing a historical novel set in Australia in 1872. The fictional events are based on real events or phenomena. A few characters are based on real people, who I’ve researched. One is Thursday October Christian the second, grandson of Fletcher Christian, of the Bounty Mutiny fame. During his life he held positions of responsibility on Pitcairn Island. He is making a cameo appearance, greeting characters as they arrive in a ship.
My problem is this. There is very little information on him, so I am wondering how to describe him. There is information on his father, who was a colourful character, so I would like to model TOC 2nd on him. But what would you do?
No matter what you write, there’s one thing you must assume. Whatever you fudge, whatever you’re inaccurate about, will be found out.
Partly this is sod’s law…
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FromThe Babylon Bee.
JUDAH — Zephaniah, described by authorities as a “minor prophet” is tired of being asked by his overbearing parents when he’ll become a major prophet, sources say.
“Sweetie, are you gonna be a minor prophet your whole life?” said his mother. “The money’s so much better if you’re a major prophet. You’re much more likely to meet a lovely wife if you’re making major prophet money. I want grandchildren!”
“Ughhh Mom! I work for King Josiah, ok?” said the frustrated Zephaniah. “He’s a really godly king so there’s really not much prophecy work to do these days. Gosh!”
The minor prophet’s father Cushi is also frustrated with his son’s lack of ambition. “I just wish the boy had a little bit more drive,” he said. “You know, like Isaiah or Daniel. Those guys were top performers! I know he could get there if he just applied…
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