Everything we’ve covered thus far deals with storytelling theory, criteria, and the inherent elements of telling an effective story. The collision of ideas and the principles that will allow them to come alive within a story that works. By way of analogy, if that story were a house or an office building, all of this stuff could exist on a two-dimensional blueprint. In fact, it would have to — nobody in his right mind shows up at a construction site with a dump truck and some lumber without a carefully conceived architectural document in hand. A blueprint that includes schematics, measurements, and the infrastructure of plumbing and electrical systems, up to and including an artist’s rendering of the final product for the pre-sales brochure. After that planning and design, the building is finally ready to be constructed, all without a single variable unattended to and leaving no doubt whatsoever that it will stand up against a stiff wind.
This essential level of structural certainty is attained without a single nail being hammered. But sooner or later you have to park the truck in front of a vacant lot, hire some folks, dig a hole, pour some concrete, and get busy putting up walls. Once you have those walls in place you can worry about what color to paint them and what kind of tile and granite you prefer — that’s writing voice in this analogy — but for now you’re focused on foundation, studs, flooring, joists, and shingles. As you should be. You’re all about assembly, fitting things together, getting the weight-bearing physics right while realizing the architect’s structural and aesthetic vision.
Writing a successful novel or screenplay, or any type of writing for that matter, is no less complex or dependent on structure and process.
As a writer, you are that architect. You are also, at some point after the blueprint galvanizes in. your head and then on paper, the general contractor, laborer, plumber, electrician, roofer, truck driver, interior designer, painter, carpet layer, appliance installer and, eventually, broker.
To accomplish all of this post-blueprint work, you have but one primary tool in your toolbox of literary assets — scenes. Sure, you’ve got ideas and you’ve got a huge pile of words ready to go, but none of that means a thing at this point without scenes. Scenes are what you use to hammer your story home. And for that you need a story architect, not a wordsmith. You must be both.
The excerpt is retrieved from the book ‘Story Engineering’