We need to talk about structure. I’ve known some editors who feel they can impose a structure on a book. Others who feel it is organic, issues forth from the text. You say potato. I say tomato. Some books lend themselves to certain structures. The story dictates it to some extent. Some books need to be written before the ultimate structure is clear. What exactly is structure: parts, chapters, point of view, tense are all part of it. Some writers have a sixth sense when it comes to structure. They know how to break a story, when and how to shift tense, how to deploy point of view. The most challenging book I ever worked on structure-wise was Columbine by Dave Cullen. How to write about an event everyone thinks they know about? How do you make the past present? If you are lost where structure is concerned, read a short story collection and analyze how each story is constructed. I always felt as an editor that you had a certain amount of play up to about 75-100 pages at which point you had to commit. I think some of the manuscripts that are submitted to me are in search of a structure. There is no organizing principle. No clock. No shuffle. No feint.
a) my books are structured within an inch of their lives b) I believe in a loose structure that provides a general blue print c) I just write.
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