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story arc



You can hold a story in your hand, but it’s better on the page.


It’s funny how a picture explains everything if you let it.

A life arc begins and ends, birth and death and all the stuff in between.

But unless you commit to the thousand words a picture might hold, you’re missing the story arc.

Try this:

Remember the first time you met your grandparents. Go back as far as you can.

Now recall the last time you saw them.

If you remember a funeral, then that’s a life arc.

Try the same with a friend who moved away and you never saw them again.

They were your bestie in grade school for a year or two, then disappeared.

Instead of life arc, you’ve got a story arc.

Writers jump all over that one, everyone else not so much.

Why is that?

Nostalgia creeps in looking at old pictures. School pictures and class pictures tell more than you can bear sometimes.

Especially if you’re a parent looking at your adult kids’ photos.

Sometimes you feel time rush by like a hurricane and you have to put things down before you get blown away.

It’s a sweet moment you never hear much about, but it’s a real as any surprise emotions welling up unexpectedly.

You could keep a tissue ready. Better make it a paper towel.

The reference here goes to an open ended story / life arc like an unresolved dream that sticks with you all day.

Instead of tripping along that path of wonder, writers organize the same material. And it’s no surprise how they do it.

Easy as 1, 2, 3. Or beginning, middle, end.

Another way to see it is Normal Life, The Problem That Disrupts Normal Life, The New Normal.

Or, you get a new cat, the cat climbs a tree and get stuck, and you break your neck getting kitty down.

Beginning, middle, and end. Give it a shot.

Comments welcome.


About David Gillaspie
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