Friday, February 28, 2014

Structural Problems

Every form of writing has its own structure. Say, for example, haiku has a phrase and a fragment, and tanka has a lower verse and an upper verse. A stage play, a screenplay, and a novel? They have a much more complicated structure.

I always think of writing a long work the building of a house. With the foundation, which is the story idea, we build a play or a novel. In the building process, we might be blind to the structure. That happened to me while working on my memoir. Rewrites, which I did more than twenty times, did not help. Finally, I put it away for a while. Then, I looked at it again. Aha, I saw the big problem! Its structure was not sound--alas, I'm not Bill Clinton, but I'm writing an autobiography. And it's too colossal a building to tear down and to rebuild. I decided to save the material for a novel, or novels, I will write someday. It won't be an autobiographical novel.

It is a lot of headache and heartache to tear down the "house" and rebuild it. However, it is worth the efforts.

How to detect the structural problems? Simple, set the writing aside, whatever it is, for at least a couple of months. Then, look at it with a pair of fresh eyes. Yes, fresh eyes. I touched on this topic before.

You may argue that you don't care about structure when you write. That is fine, too. However, look at all the significant buildings in the world. Don't they all have some sort of structure? Even non-structure does have structure.