The Value of Structure

I’m a dedicated, died-in-the-wool workaholic. I hate downtime, which makes writing the perfect past time for me. For a very long time it was just that: a way to privately work out the stories in my head. But this workaholic is not content with unproductive endeavors. I have so many ideas. Why waste time creating stories no one will ever read?

I’m not only a workaholic, but also a technician. When I first started writing with the intention of getting published, my primary critique of my own work was the lack of technical precision. Oh yeah, I could write a sentence as well as the next guy. However, a story is a collection of sentences that work together to carry the concept you want to project. Your reader should never notice the structure of words, sentences, and paragraphs that help you tell it.

If the story doesn’t flow smoothly from one sentence to the next, the reader must mentally pause to figure out where it is going. I’m not referring to the plot of the book, which should have twists and turns. A wonderful story, poorly written, will mentally exhaust the reader by repeatedly forcing her to stop and struggle to understand what is happening. When the reader gets tired of expending all that mental effort, she will put your book down and may never pick it up again. She may not know the exact reason for it, but believe me, if she doesn’t finish your first book, she won’t buy the second one.

And that would frustrate my workaholic brain no end.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged.


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