In yesterday's blog post about outlining the fourth Nicole Tang Noonan mystery, I showed four columns, representing the four quarters of a story according to Matt Bird in The Secrets of Story.
The gray notes in the first column, represent scenes. This list of scenes outlines the plot for the first quarter of the story. But without some structure, the plot might be a monotonous list of events. Things would happen but we might not be getting anywhere.
Those small gold sticky notes remind me of Bird's notes on the structure of the story. For instance, the third gold note by the first column says, "The hero discovers an intimidating opportunity to fix the problem." That's a good structural point to aim for early in the first quarter of the story.
I like being reminded that a story needs both a plot and a structure.
Bird developed his lists of points relating to concept, structure, characters, etc. by analyzing over a hundred successful films to see what they have in common. In his book, he arranges these into "The Ultimate Story Checklist," a way of testing the integrity of your story.
I'm using the points related to structure in planning this book. I'll use the other lists of points after I've written a first draft to diagnose problems to fix in the second draft.
At least, that's the plan for now.