Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brian Y: Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories

I don’t know if any part of writing confuses me more than structure. I struggle with it all the time. What’s the shape of my story? How do I get all that STUFF to fit together? There are so many freaking concerns in writing even a simple story. We writers are juggling character, plot, theme, language and a dozen other things with two inadequate hands and a bit of delusional grandeur. And then, on top of this, we have to somehow create a structure that houses all of our intentions and connivances and deviations, that provides just the right architecture for all that we want to put into our story. It’s hard. Really hard. Or so I thought until I saw this explanation sent to me by my good friend Varian who knows that Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite writer people. Thanks, Kurt, for putting it all in perspective.

9 comments:

  1. *So* perfect. Thank you for posting!

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  2. Love it! It seems so simple, when put that way. And I love graphs, so it's perfect!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I'd never seen this before! You can't go wrong with Vonnegut. Great clip.

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  4. The take home point for me is that good literature is a study of extremes. A person who starts happy and stays happy is as boring as a person who starts miserable and stays miserable. There must be ups and downs along the path, in my opinion, the greater the ups and downs the more interesting the story becomes unless (and here is where brilliant writers separate themselves from the pack) the author goes too far and creates a story which is overly-contrived or unbelievable.

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  5. Thanks for the comments. Yeah, Vonnegut does seem to have a fun time on stage. He states things simply, but I always take something away from his little talks. This one reminds me that I need story. Sometimes I get lost in those trees and forget the obvious.

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  6. Love this -- especially his sarcastic (and hilarious) delivery. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. That was awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. That is a nice post, thanks for sharing this nice information.

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