Two key points on the importance of structure

I was very lucky to have a conversation with Imogen Robertson, chair of the HWA, who kindly offered to give feedback to longlisted authors in this year’s short story competition. A feedback junkie, I snatched her hand off and was not disappointed.
One of the things I’ve been struggling with in one WIP is the feeling I get every time I read it that it’s soooo much better towards the end and that much of the lead up is too slow. Things happen, there’s drama, there’s conflict (outer and inner) and none of my readers have complained, or risen to the bait when I ask them outright – I’m too self-critical they kindly say.
But, you know when you know…

So, two key points (and sub-points) about structure

FOCUS – write fuller scenes but (especially in a short story) fewer of them. To borrow the trees image from one of the recommended books below, it’s important to be able to see the wood for the trees and among all the nice prose.
Every scene has to pay its way, deepening character and/or plot

TURNING POINTS – be very clear what they are and why it’s a turning point.
How does it affect your character? What changes in them, as well as for them?
Sharpen them, let them  ‘breathe’ by giving them lots of space and ensuring the reader lives every bit of them with your character.

Here are some book recommendations
Story Robert McKee
The Science of Story Telling Will Storr
Into the Woods  John Yorke

I have glimmerings about my worries and how possibly to solve them. Thank you Imogen and HWA.

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