• Lynn Bohart

A Story Needs Structure

Writers are taught to manipulate the reader.

That’s right, I said manipulate.

Why? Because if a writer simply wrote in a linear fashion from beginning to end, without plotting and planning, most readers would put the story down before they’d gotten halfway through.

As readers, we want to internalize the story as it plays out. But without conscious structuring on the part of the writer, the reader would merely slip through the story without stopping to savor important moments.

So, authors manipulate. They use literary devices, such as:

· prologues and epilogues,

· heightened conflict,

· plot twists,

· characterization,

· cliff hangers,

· foreshadowing,

· flashbacks, and

· point-of-view.

Used properly, these will ensure that readers laugh and cry when they’re supposed to, visualize the described eroticism or violence, experience edge-of-their-seat suspense, and feel empathy or rage toward certain characters - all before they arrive at a sense of satisfaction at the story's end.

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