Friday, July 22, 2011

Crisis Resolution

I went looking this week for the “traditional structure” of a novel, having been told at one point that mine didn’t have it.  I found a nifty graph and spent some time looking at it.  The effect?  Mostly a general buzzing, an expanse of emptiness in my brain.  I don't get it.  Do the crises get resolved as you go along, then?  Who brought math into it, with the X and the Y?  Can we really measure time?
Of course I know about the three act structure of a play; certainly I remember the terms crisis, denouement and resolution.  As well as I remember obtuse triangles, genetic probability and lots of other things that didn’t follow me far past high school.  When I finally got to college, I studied literature.  Lots of it.  At two schools, through two degrees.  That is not to brag, only to explain that I studied many, many, many books.  And I don’t recall ever dissecting any writing in terms of its adherence to a traditional structure.  Instead, we talked about themes and historical context, style and character.  The beauty of the language, the clarity of inspiration.  For me, novels have always been about people and ideas and I actually like when these things remain somewhat unresolved as people and ideas often are. 
It’s hard for me to write with structure in mind when I don’t read that way.
I think about a few of my favorite books, and I can’t seem to fit them into this graph, no matter how hard I try.  In fact, it makes my brain hurt.  Maybe I should have learned a bit more about triangles; maybe I shouldn’t have dropped that Statistics class after the first week.  Science was just never my thing. 


Post a Comment

"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka