Structure by guest author Allison Symes

This article was first published on 24 Novermber 2016 at—creating-worlds/structure.

I used to be frightened of the thought of story structure.  It seemed too formal, too allison-symes-pic-2technical etc.  I’ve found it helpful to think of it as the “edit where I check the story makes sense”, which I appreciate is something of a mouthful!

But just checking that the world of my story is logical (even magical worlds  have rules) and that I am consistent within that, by checking the characters are coming across the way I meant them to do so – now that I’m not frightened of and I find it reassuring when I find, yes, the story does make sense.  I can then “relax” a little bit and focus on editing for grammar, spelling, can I improve the way I’ve expressed things (and the answer to that one is always “yes”!!).

I do at least three edits on a story – I ensure the structure is right first, then move on to copy editing and improving the way I’ve written what I have before having a gap and then coming back to the story with fresh eyes.  If at that point I’m happy with it, I send the allison-symesstory off.  The gap is crucial.  It’s the only way I’ve found to really come back to a piece of work and read it as a reader would.

Allison Symes is an author who writes fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.


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