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Theories about plot structure and the extent of their value. ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ (Christopher Booker). Five-act structure (Gustav Freytag). Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Tsvetan Todorov’s five stages of action. The inevitability of plot. Kenn Adams’s story spine. Kurt Vonnegut’s story shapes. ‘Seeding’ conditions in order to make later events believable. The use of more than one timeframe. The risks inherent in confounding reader expectation.
‘You have a broad trajectory for your story when you start writing because you know the beginning and have a sense of an ending, but this trajectory will not be a straight line – the most direct journey from A to Z, where everything goes right, is the least interesting and probably not worth writing about.’
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