Do you think a relatively inexperienced writer could structure a good story just by feel?
It is commonly accepted that a good story has a defined structure, adhering to a standard pattern or sequence of events.
If someone is unfamiliar with that pattern, could they independently come up with a story structure, 'by feel', having been unconsciously trained in the structure due to their reading of fiction?
- TinaLv 71 month agoFavourite answer
Why not? the second story I ever wrote was accepted for publication. A fellow writer in the same genre was being published at sixteen.
However I certainly don't accept that a good story adheres to a standard pattern but yes, reading a lot, all the time is good.
- Elaine MLv 71 month ago
Yes, but it won't account for the actual dance of words they need to use to get their story across with the crafting it takes to TELL a good story. There's a lot more to writing than following a formula.
- AmberLv 51 month ago
I think it is possible, but whether that story would be up for publishing or not, who knows. I've never read a story from a novice that didn't have some structural problems, even if they wrote with a plan.
Reading novels is definitely a good thing to do, but it wont teach you everything you need to know. It's like saying, I've watched the Grand National a million times and ridden a lead pony so I'm ready to just jump in and do that race. While you might be better off than someone totally inexperienced, you're not skilled enough to race a tb in a race like that. You have to train. If you don't know how to breeze your horse you'll never be ready. You have to put in the time and effort to learn in order to become a master, otherwise your just an amateur that got lucky.
- bluebellbkkLv 71 month ago
Of course. It may be unusual or even rare, but there's no reason why it couldn't happen from time to time.
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- j153eLv 71 month ago
Yes; that is often noted in good works of literature, art, music, and zen; for example, John Boyne wrote his "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" in less than 60 hours, with brief periods of rest and nourishment. He did not plan it...it flowed of his own inner Child. That said, Mr. Boyne was previously a novelist who planned his prior novels. There are other examples.
What may be concluded is the creative process is multivariate, even for a single author/painter/composer.
"Creation: Artistic and Spiritual;"
"Understanding Yourself," by Mark Prophet
"Save the Cat! Writes a Novel;"
"Flow" by Csikszentmihalyi.
- Anonymous1 month ago
A coherent structure alone? Yes, that's possible. They could hit the right plot points, even if they didn't read a lot of novels but knew movies well.
But there are a hundred techniques beyond plotting to writing a novel and making it a smooth reading experience. The first-timer's book might have the right structure, with developments coming at about the right time, but it wouldn't be confused for a professional piece of work. There would likely be point of view errors, tedious infodumps, unmotivated characters, characters all sounding the same in dialog, characters sounding like no human being on earth has ever sounded, paragraphing problems within dialog, skipped but crucial explanations within action, confusing phrasing, and all sort of other problems. Most inexperienced writers aren't good at grammar or punctuation, so there would likely be basic problems of that nature.
If you go to critique sites and see examples, you'll see the many sorts of problems that even writers with a year or two under their belts will make. Go read the page 1 critiques at The Kill Zone, for instance. (and those critiques hit only the main points, not the line-level stuff which is often a problem.) Writing is a good deal more difficult than non-writers believe.
- VoelvenLv 71 month ago
As in following a five act plot structure or similar?
Yes, I believe many do it subconsciously, even experienced writers. In fact, most "pantsers" are likely doing it.
- AndrewLv 71 month ago
What defined structure might that be? If you've read hundreds of books and thousands of stories, you wouldn't be claiming that there's a standard story structure. And the greater the author's level of talent and skill and more impressive the author's sense of style, the more that author will likely take liberties with everything. Would it be possible for an inexperienced writer to produce a readable, solid piece of writing? Sure. I grew up with a lad that never touched a paintbrush before he was in his early 20s and by 30 was quite well known in the local art scene. He was a year behind me at school and is currently retired and living quite comfortably. Some people just have a knack for something, but generally, writing is something that takes a great deal of practice before one can truly excel and stand out, or even to be considered mediocre. Many people write for years and years and continue to produce nothing but bunk sprinkled with a few tasty morsels here and there until they eventually reach a level where they're fifty one percent decent and then improve from there. Obviously those writers who are more well read and practice more will improve more rapidly than those who read less and don't practice as much, but I suppose there might be that one rare case, that one in one hundred million who just hits the ground running, but I've never met anyone like that, and I know a lot of writers.