Thursday, December 18, 2008

When the Nest Empties

When the house empties, often the marriage collapses or the adults get sick. I think that's because people are living a story that doesn't make sense but they were too busy to notice. So what do people do? - They create an inciting incident. They give themselves permission to toss out everything they've created over 25 years and do some crazy reaction story by stuffing everything they hate about their current lives into a cannon and then introduce a new storyline from the splatter that hit the wall.

Jurgen Wolff has provided us with the story spine - how to reduce a story to its simplest structure.

1. Once upon a time (basic setup)
2. Every day (conditions at start)
3. But one day ... (inciting incident)
4. Because of that....(conflict moves story along)
5. Because of that....
6. (Repeat) (basic conflicts and escalations of act II, to the end of Act)
7. Until finally....(resolution)
8. Ever since then....(new status quo)

You have a life. Jurgen has given you a basic story structure. After 55, you should be getting to Steps 7 and 8. That will give you plenty of time for revising and polishing and publishing and maybe even profiting from a completed story.

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