The Relationship Between Structure, Technique, And Development

What writers tend to do to put together a story:

                           Image result for wooden blocks                            

Linear                                  Non-linear                                 Abstract

But this is how writers should understand fiction creation:


Linear                              Non-linear                                        Abstract

Delivery structure as well as compositional technique (like stream-of-consciousness, for example), shouldn’t change the Big Picture. No matter how you present your story, it should still be something. That “something” is the role narrative development plays. It’s what helps the reader process the presentation in order to understand, ultimately, the story as a whole.

Otherwise what is it but a jumble of nonsense?

Here’s why:


The writer leaves the least amount of work for the reader in interpreting the story vision. Each part is distinct and fits into a conjoining part because individually and together they add up to something unique and specific to give shape to a coherent, holistic narrative creation. Delivery structure and narrative infrastructure are closely paralleled, and narrative benchmarks are met point by point. 


The writer purposefully re-orders (as opposed to disorders) sections of the story to control how and what the reader interprets, usually to heighten tension and suspense or to make a philosophical, stylistic, or symbolic point. The non-linear technique is not random or based on whim. Delivery structure and narrative infrastructure are not paralleled, and where benchmarks are not fully met, point by point, they are suggested, hinted, or left to be intuited.


The writer fragments the story and leaves only select pieces for the reader to interpret in an almost archaeological or forensic fashion. Abstract narrative is not built on incoherence or chaos; rather, the writer works from a complete developmental vision then deliberately chooses, for artistic, philosophical, or symbolic reasons how to let the reader experience it. Delivery structure and narrative infrastructure are not paralleled, and benchmarks are not fully met point by point; some are suggested, hinted, or intuited; the rest is a deliberate omission. Never does the writer lose control of coherence developmentally.

This analogy helps writers understand the difference between story development that’s just writing and plot, and story development that has an overarching purpose.

Regardless which technique you use to convey your narrative, it still has to be a story in the same way an intact skeleton, a disassembled skeleton, and skeletal fragments are all still a human skeleton.

Most writers approach storytelling like stacking and ordering blocks without ever realizing that despite plotting that makes the story seem coherent, there is no ultimate vision being imparted.

Storytelling delivers the writer’s vision .


Filed under Creative Writing, Fiction, Sandra Chmara, Writing, Writing Advice

2 responses to “The Relationship Between Structure, Technique, And Development

  1. charlie barnes

    Holy rosetta-stone bat girl! I can not claim to completely understand all of your information. I will be reading and rereading your entire blog until I can truly comprehend everything. I considered myself to be pretty creative, more literate than your average bear. I have been thinking about writing something for years. Recently I started to get serious, un-lazy is probably a more accurate term. If I did not read your blog, I would have had no idea how truly horrendous my attempts would be. You are very eloquent, and funny as hell. I see the truth in your instructions. You saved me from huge embarrassment. I might not have any talent, but at least i will understand HOW to write, if I have it in me….also, my grammar and punctuation suck. I can’t type worth a shit, and I spell like a first-grader, so I have a lot of work to do.

    Do you have a course available? If you do I WANT IT.

    • Wow, what can I say? Thank you for your comment. Anyone who says they have a lot of work to do is off to a better start than someone who thinks they’re a genius. Communicate intimately with the reader and you’ve won half the battle.

      An online course is in development along with a book. It will be announced when available.

      The best of luck on your work, Charlie.

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