I used to think structure meant a huge-ass, heavy outline that had more pages than the final novel and was basically a ginormous waste of time.
Go ahead, laugh.
It's all right. I learned my lesson. I converted, became a structure disciple, in fact. And I am a die-hard, in the camp of planning it all out (or at least those golden plot points) before hand author.
But then I got thinking about gamers.
I believe that film affected plot structure in a big way, you see. I believe that authors have had to speed things up, blow things up, in order to keep an audience that has become used to a cinematic film structure. Okay, maybe not all authors. There are some Austen fans out there who still go in for witty dialogue. The point is, in general, fictional structures have evolved.
I like evolution a lot, but it has a pesky tendency to keep going...usually just when you get comfortable where you are.
Now I'm watching a movie with my Gamer nephew, a movie that I'm thinking is a bit odd, quirky, out of line, and he suddenly sits forward, eyes glued, and whispers, "boss battle." Ahhhhhh. Mind blown.
When gamers get together, they don't talk about cheats and keystrokes and treasure (well not first) anymore. They talk about plot. I've heard them. They talk about the new Mass Effect (sequel!) and the character arc and the love interest and factions and things I have NO IDEA about.
But I recognize it. This is "word of mouth" happening. This is gripping, engaging story that spreads fandom like wild fire.
And it has migrated in a big way to MMORGs and RPGs and things that go beep beep beep BOOM.
It still happens with books, sure. And with movies, oh yes. But even at writer's group, the fannish talk often turns to the latest release....of a video game.
And they have a different story structure. I'm almost sure of it. It was that familiar structure that my nephew responded to. I don't know if anyone has mapped it, (outside of the game writers, that is) but I have this little whisper of suspicion that somebody should.
Maybe it involves leveling up and equipping and boss battles.
Maybe the final villain/climax should always be destroyed only to immediately morph into a BIGGER and MORE EVIL final boss.
I dunno. But I should.
I think I should.
I think I need to study a little....just in case.
Because where the masses go, is where they are comfy, and that is where there OH JOY. I LOVE THIS AND MUST TALK ABOUT IT TO EVERYONE buttons are pushed.
I suspect we should be paying attention to this.
Even if it scares the bejeezus out of us.