How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Structure, structure, structure. We’ve talked about it before and for fuck’s sake we are going to talk about it again. When there is a problem with a manuscript, when it’s “not working,” when the material is good but the flakes don’t fly, it’s usually because the structure is flawed and by that I mean it’s fucked. What is structure, asks the simple son? First, slice a seedless rye in even slices. Butter every other one. Thematic? Chronological? A dovetail of the two? How good are you? How many plates in the air can you successfully spin? How devout are you? How unpredictable? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, mark up your favorite book and track the changes, the breaks, clock the way time moves. Pick a tense and stick with it unless you know how to drive a stick. Yo, what up? Is structure organic or something you apply to a work, asks the silent son, silently. For me, it’s organic. I subscribe to the idea that the choices you make in the first pages are more than clues, they are the dead sea scrolls, the shroud, the grail. You set the tone, style, syntax, pace, point of view, etc. It doesn’t mean you can’t make adjustments. It doesn’t mean you can’t turn it on its head. And sometimes it isn’t until you get to the end that you see the beginning. And that is the place to start.
Define structure according to the gospel of you.
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