Why do people start blogs? I certainly don’t know why. You’d think that something more akin to a YouTube channel would be the ticket. Everything these days is video all the time, and I certainly have an aptitude for making videos. It’s something that I might consider shortly, but for right now I really sort of want to focus on a blog. This is one of those things that I always wanted to do while I was in the hospital and tried to start over repeatedly, but never been able to make stick. I think part of it is the fact that you have to have some kind of focus for a blog. You need a subject. You need something that you can use to focus your efforts, to keep you on target. I think I finally found something that I like enough to make into a subject that I can work with. I’ll be writing a blog focused on story structure, though I may touch on other subjects as well. I would like to open the hood, so to speak, and look at stories, especially ones that I like to see how they work. I want to do this for movies and I want to do this for TV shows. For certain TV shows, I even want to get granular and go episode by episode. I want to see how many of those shows seem to stack up to each other, how their overall season arcs work, and how many times they tell the same story repeatedly. Knowing myself, I’m largely going to stick to science fiction.
Part of how I intend to achieve this examination of structure is to use two examples that I love applying to my work. I like to use two circles to describe story structure. One of them is the story circle popularized by KM Weiland, and the other one is a story circle created by Dan Harmon. Dan Harmon’s story circle is like KM Weiland’s, but more suited for TV episodes. That is something that I’m also gonna look into.
KM Weiland’s circle
Dan Harmon’s circle
Vonnegut on the shapes of stories
Each of these circles copies the motion of a clock. They start at 12 o’clock and then move around the circle in an analog fashion until they are back up to 12 o’clock again. The circles each have different numbers of steps, but the structure is similar. You find out what the protagonists want, then they get into all kinds of trouble around the bottom half of the clock, and then they get back out of it and back to the top of the hour so that you can start a new story or a new chapter or new movie or wherever you want to go next. Usually, somebody changes in a small way. It’s not always the same character, and it’s not always the same change. I think I’ll even make a page for the circles so that I can always have easy access to them. I got them on my computer but in a pinch, it would be nice if I had a place on my site so I could just refer to them, and to any other tools that I would like to use as I develop stories of my own.
These circles and graphs are building blocks, and serve as a foundation for the stories on top of them.