But then, you probably knew that already.
If this is news to you, I suggest you review the last couple of posts here on Storyfix, and then come on down. Love to have you join us.
If you aren’t sure what a “deconstruction” is, it’s an analysis of the structure of a novel or a film (in this case, both) from a writer’s point of view, breaking the story down into four parts, separated by three major story milestones, each with it’s own mission-driven context, and peppered with specific little tricks and transitions that ultimately make it work.
All of which, when combined with elements of the characterization and theme and driven from a compelling conceptual essence, comprise what we call story architecture.
Which is what, by the way, might just get you published.
Deconstructions help us see this developmental/structural model at work in successful novels and films. This not only validates it as a storytelling paradigm — the one editors expect when they open the envelope containing your story, by the way, even if they define it all using different terminology — it becomes an inspiring growth exercise that empowers our own work.
It’s like watching Roger Federer play tennis. Makes you want to hit the court. And when you do, you’ll already be better just from watching how the best in the world do it.
And Dennis Lehane — when you’re talking psychological thrillers — is the best writer in the world. My opinion… shared by millions, some of whom are professional critics.
I’ve been urging you all to see the movie and/or read the novel before Monday.
Or, if you can’t, study up on how the story turns out by clicking HERE. Because you absolutely need to know how this story ends to understand how it has been constructed and why it works.
Which is a universal law of writing contemporary fiction, too, by the way.
Your draft won’t work until you know how the story ends. If you use the drafting to discover that ending (pantsing it), then you need to understand that you’ll have t0 rewrite or extensively revise your manuscript with that context in mind.
And that if you don’t, you won’t sell it. Whether to put that much more hard work into your story is always your call.
Or, you could plan your story out ahead of time using the principles of story architecture and the Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling — something I advocate strongly — and write your story from that context beginning on Day 1.
By the way, if Shutter Island intrigues you, check out the author’s website HERE. Read the Q&A and watch the video interview… pretty interesting stuff.
Meanwhile, I’m cranking on the deconstruction from this end. Gonna be a busy weekend.
Hope to see you Monday.
Oh… P.S. …
If you can’t get enough good examples of the structure at work, or if you’re just in the mood for a great story that is as fresh and original as anything you could ask for in a movie (in case you thought you’d seen it all)…
… go see the new film The Joneses, starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. It’s hard to find a completely original idea these days, and this one does it, along with powerful themes, great acting and edgy screenwriting. An underrated, largely undiscovered (though well-reviewed) film that will surprise you… and inspire you as a writer.
And, it’s right on the money in terms of story structure.