by Gloria T. Delamar
The idea of "writing to formula" turns off many writers. But the fact is, that most writing does indeed fall into certain broad "concepts" or "plans." It's not counter- productive to understand these accepted schemes for making a piece of writing make sense for the intended reader (and first, the intended editor). Don't let yourself get locked into seeing formulas or concepts as negative; the reason they've been defined is because they work--and that's positive synthesis.
Mathematical Patterns Applied to Fiction
This equation represents the "satisfying" or "happy-ending."
At least three-fourths of all modern, commercial short stories and large percentage of longer stories, are written on this pattern.
"1" represents basic emotions:
or conditioned emotions:
To make a strong story, you need a strong conflict between two emotions. You can match two simple emotions, two conditioned emotions, or a simple emotion and a conditioned one. Though the + or - signs in the mathematical pattern might be read as "versus" the "plus" and "minus" concepts reflect the nature of the problems and conflict, and forecast the outcome.
Aristotle's Rules of Tragedy
amagmorsis: revelation of true identity of person previously
Five W's and H
The "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Formula," though bringing
up memories of grade-school days, is still a good touchpoint. It covers
all the aspects that should be included in order to convey adequate information
to the reader. There are implications in it for any nonfiction, as well
as fiction, writers. What is it necessary for your reader to know to get
the full impact of your article, nonfiction book, short story, or novel?
Think about it.
The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations (as defined by Georges Polti)
There's an interesting little book of which not many writers, especially beginning writers, seem to be aware. It's been around a long time, having been first published in 1921 and been in print ever since. Georges Polti (1868-?), author of The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, postulates that there are 36, and only 36, dramatic situations upon which all plots are based. He credits the discovery to the Italian Carlo Gozzi (1720-1806); quotes two acknowledged-to- be-creative Germans: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) who said he could not identify even that many and Johann von Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) who said he could not find more; Polti also refers to the French Gerard de Nerval(1808-1855) who said he'd found only 24.
Polti feels that a singular corollary is attached: that there are in
life but 36 emotions. In the book, Polti goes into detail about the situations,
mentioning examples and nuances under each, showing the many facets that
a single dramatic situation can take. He also notes the elements of each
situation. For your perusal, possible dispute, and general information,
here then, are the 36 dramatic plots.
The Seven Deadly Sins
More Upon Which to Motivate Characters; or Write about for Nonfiction:
The Seven Deadly Sins of Writers (by Gloria T. Delamar)
Not knowing guidelines and wants of editors to whom submitting manuscripts.
- © Gloria T. Delamar
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