Since I first read it, the book “Save The Cat!” has been incredibly useful to me as far as thinking about stories, outlining them, and finishing them. It's a fun way to approach structure, and applies to a LOT of mainstream stories.
It's become an essential textbook in mainstream filmmaking, and lately I've seen many novelists sing its praises as well.
It's the structure book I recommend, and when I use it, my stories come out better.
Following it slavishly, like with any structure book, or letting it get in the way is a trap I've fallen into and it's one to look out for. Hammering some stories into the “proper shape” could ruin them. Sometimes Act One is NOT 25% of the story. It can be shorter, or longer. Sometimes there is no character arc for the main character (we've talked about that before). Sometimes the Protagonist does NOT do something heroic or kind in the beginning to make them likable (which is what the “Save the Cat” title refers to).
There is some play between structure/keeping things moving in a story, and writing something authentic from your mind and experience. Sometimes there's a LOT of room to “break the rules” - and sometimes following them too robotically can make it feel pointless or kill your excitement for your idea.
I think webcomics in particular are much more free in this way - it can be just for you, and whoever happens to find and like it. There isn't the financial burden of a movie or TV show.
Obvious stuff, but something I found worthy enough anyway.
Honestly, I get lazy and ignore structure in my comics and it's not the best for me - but I think a little more “playing” serves a story very very well. But overall, I think I'm a structure guy. How about you?
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Banes at 12:00AM, April 6, 2023
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