X Is For… X-Ray – the Plot!

X-rays allow doctors to see inside a patient, so they can fix whatever’s wrong – whether it’s something as straightforward as a broken bone, or complex as spots on the lung.  Writers can use the idea of the x-ray to see how plots structure a story.

Story structure is the skeleton of the story.  It’s the “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again” summary that one can make about a good story and it lets us know where we’re going as a writer.  I don’t necessarily mean plot here, though that’s part of it; I also mean the way in which we tell the story itself.  After all, the “boy meets girl” example is pretty simplistic, but it’s the basis of what makes an effective romance ‘work’.

Writers approach structure in different ways.  Some people like to know in advance what they’re doing, and create outlines and character sketches so they know what they’re doing.  Others, like me, write for a while and see what story they’re telling, then go back and tweak the structure to make sure its foundation is solid.  Still others do different things depending on the story itself.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What kinds of stories attract you?

6 Replies to “X Is For… X-Ray – the Plot!”

  1. Oh, I like all kinds of stories. It is interesting to read a story and be able to recognize the basic structure, and then realize that even though book a and book b have the exact same structure, they're very different.

  2. Ooh, there are so many types of books I like to read that I'm not sure where to begin. As for writing, I could use some structure currently. ~grin~ My Camp NaNoWriMo fiction is wandering all over the place. Since the rules are less strict than for November's NaNoWriMo, I've allowed myself to start a children's story for a change of pace. I wrote about xeriscaping today over on http://darlamsands.blogspot.com/ and am currently number 1179 on the A to Z challenge list. Best wishes!

  3. I think that "all over the place" is a good thing, because it's part of the drafting process. It can give us stuff we didn't expect. Granted, it means that there's some cutting in edits, but I think overall it's a useful thing to use.

    I look forward to hearing more about your children's story!

  4. I like the x-ray metaphor for story structure. I wish I was one who enjoyed outlines and lots of pre-planning. I tend to write a bit and see what shows up on the page. The outline, then, would be my x-ray, a way of checking in and seeing how the bones of the story look.Happy A to Z!

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