on Jane Friedman site:
It’s Tuesday at 4:30 PM. A writer’s name flashes across my Zoom screen.
As we begin her free consultation, she tells me about the harrowing memoir she plans to write. The project is her first book, and she’s not sure where to begin.
After a five-minute banter about the writing process, she says, “Can you tell me how to structure my memoir?”
As I craft a reply to this frequently asked question she leans in, waiting, perhaps even hoping and praying, that I’ll share the secret that easily and efficiently unlocks her project’s genius.
I understand because I repeatedly asked the same question early in my writing process.
At the time, I thought structure was the holy grail of storytelling. Like the characters in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, all I had to do was choose wisely. Complete the task and I’d soon double fist the prizes ever writer seeks: the ecstasy of having written and the pride of holding my published book. Fail and the bones of my project might crumble, right along with my motivation.
Unfortunately, structure isn’t the storytelling holy grail.
It’s just one of many important components.