Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Wednesday's Tip - More on Patterns
First a bit on Originality. Are there new stories? Probably not. What there are are writer's takes on stories that go back to the days when men gathered around a fire in a cave and someone told stories. What a writer needs to do is find their own unique way of telling the story. Learning about Patterns is one way of doing this. We were read to as children and heard all those wonderful fairy tales, some of them changed from their original pattern and sometimes not. We've seen adaptations of these classical themes in a variety of ways. Some author tales a story and adds a twist. One has to do this with care. Taking what someone has written and just changing the names and location is plagerism, but taking the basic pattern and using it in isn't. Perhaps a hard line not to cross. There's a lot of "fan fiction" out there that takes a writer's world and uses the characters to create stories. The problem here is when the writer of the "fan fiction" goes overboard and changes very little. I've never done this kind of writing but there are authors I have studied their works to look at the basic patterns and used these patterns to create my own world.
Basic patterns look at archtypes. There are characters who turn up in many stories and these are found in patterns from the beginning. Look at the use writers have has of taking the story of lovers torn apart by a family feud. This is a recognazible pattern but it's what the writer does with this. To copy long passages isn't where it's at. To follow the pattern blindly isn't where it's at. Taking a pattern and adapting it to your own work. We've been listening to stories since we were small. Finding the patterns beneath the story is where a writer should shine. Taking another writer's characters and changing little about their personalities is bordering on plagerism.
Now I've had my small rant let's look at the basic pattern of a story. Every story has a Beginning, a Middle and an End. Leave one of these out and you don't have a story. The Beginning is where the characters are introduced, setting is shown and the problem begun. The Middle is where the story has twists and turns with the hero or heroine sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. All this leads to the End where the problems are solved and a resolution is formed. A story with a beginning and an end is found odd by the reader. So would a story with a middle and an end or one that has just one of the three pieces of the pattern. As a writer I've probably done all of the above but then I've had to look at the story and decide what's wrong and then go back and make the changes so the story has all it's parts and has a pattern that flows.