Resonance and The Reader’s Journey

Resonance and The Reader’s Journey

Why Does Good Story Structure Resonate?

by Steve Hooley



We discuss the importance of story structure frequently on this blog site. It is often said that good structure will keep the reader engaged and will allow the story to “resonate” with the reader. But how often do we discuss why the structure resonates? And is there anything to be learned for our writing from the answer to the “why” question?

Recently this question hit me and made me start looking for answers. I was watching the news about the Surfside Condo collapse in Miami-Dade County, specifically the ceremony that took place at the end of the rescue efforts and the beginning of the recovery phase. It struck me, at first, that this was a necessary step to prevent victim’s families from being upset that the rescue efforts were ending. But as I watched, I began to realize that people need ceremony.

  • To memorialize significant events
  • To aid in transitioning to the next stage in life
  • To reflect on the past
  • To plan for the future

Then the idea hit me that this is similar to story structure. Readers need structure, with all the signposts, pillars, and doorways along the way.

  • For the story to resonate
  • For the reader to be captured by the story
  • For the reader to identify with the main character
  • For the story arc to feel right

But that still didn’t answer the question: Why does the story structure resonate?

I began looking for answers in the psychological research literature. There are plenty of studies that show the benefits of routine and structure in making life more meaningful and more productive. We all know that. There are studies that shine light on the techniques (and hormones) that increase tension and empathy. But still, what is the connection between structure and resonance?

Let’s first look at resonance. It is defined as “the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.” And from Physics: “the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by synchronous vibration of a neighboring object.” For example, in a stringed instrument, the walls of the instrument pick up the vibration of the string, multiplying and enriching the sound.

Thus, we are looking at a story touching something within the reader that is captured and begins to vibrate along with the story, magnifying and enriching the story. In other words, what is it within the reader that he/she identifies with the structure, that is similar in some way, and reverberates and resonates?

I offer the following theory for discussion. Agree, disagree, or give us your theory:

 Story structure resonates with readers because it causes the reader to subconsciously identify their own life’s milestones, ceremonies, and arc, with the story structure (either as their life has been lived out, or as they wish it had been, or could be in the future). In other words, the reader hangs their life on the story structure (subconsciously), and hopes for a better outcome.

Here are some quotes from Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey, about “the Hero’s Journey” (story structure based on patterns of mythology and the work of Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces):

The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler:

Preface, Second Edition:

p. xiii

“I came to believe that the Hero’s Journey is nothing less than a handbook for life, a complete instruction manual in the art of being human.”

p. xiv

“The Hero’s Journey is a pattern that seems to extend in many dimensions, describing more than one reality. It accurately describes, among other things, … the passage of a soul through life.”

“In the description of the Hero’s Journey they might have picked up some insight about their own lives, some useful metaphor or way of looking at things, some language or principle that defines their problem and suggests a way out of it.”

“…the pleasurable shock of recognition as the patterns resonate with what they’ve seen in stories and in their own lives.”

“…shared attitude about myths—that they are not abstract theories or the quaint beliefs of ancient peoples, but practical models for understanding how to live.”

p. xv

“Joseph Campbell’s great accomplishment was to articulate clearly something that had been there all along—the life principles embedded in the structure of stories.”

Introduction, second edition

p. xxvii

“Good stories make you feel you’ve been through a satisfying, complete experience. You’ve cried or laughed or both. You finish the story feeling you’ve learned something about life or about yourself.”

p. xxix

“The Hero’s Journey, I discovered, is more than just a description of the hidden patterns of mythology. It is a useful guide to life…”

p. xxxii

“The Hero’s Journey has served storytellers and their listeners since the very first stories were told, and it shows no signs of wearing out. Let’s begin the Writer’s Journey together to explore these ideas. I hope you find them useful as magic keys to the world of story and the labyrinth of life.”

And from Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

Chapter 9, What Can Go Wrong, Must Go Wrong – And Then Some

Cognitive Secret: The brain uses stories to simulate how we might navigate difficult situations in the future.

Story Secret: A story’s job is to put the protagonist through tests that, even in her wildest dreams, she doesn’t think she can pass.

p. 167-168

“What is the benefit, survival-wise, that led to the neural rush of enjoyment a good story unleashes, effectively disconnecting us from the otherwise incessant Sturm and Drang of daily life? The answer is clear: it lets us sit back and vicariously experience someone else suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the better to learn how to dodge those darts should they ever be aimed at us.”

And here are some ideas for life events and corresponding structure milestones:

  • Birth                                                                     Opening Disturbance
  • Graduation                                                           Doorway of No Return #1
  • Midlife crisis                                                         The Mirror Moment
  • Retirement                                                           Doorway of No Return #2
  • Recovery from life-threatening illness                  Final Battle
  • Determination to make end-of-life meaningful     Transformation

Please give us other ideas for life events and corresponding milestones. Could these be built into story structure?

 And here are the questions:

  1. Do you agree with the proposed theory?
  2. Or, what theory do you have for structure and resonance?
  3. What life events would you correlate with other milestones?
  4. If this theory is correct, what can we build into our story structure milestones to better grab the reader and make him/her feel the resonance?
  5. Do you have any unique milestones that you build into your stories’ structure to grab the readers and make them feel like they have been through “a satisfying, complete experience?”

54 thoughts on “Resonance and The Reader’s Journey

  1. Steve, in my workshops I call structure “translation software for your imagination.” Structure takes the heart of your story and converts into a form that best connects (“resonates”) with a wide audience.

    Your theory of “milestones” is interesting. Perhaps it holds a “mirror” (ha!) up to nature. Dwight Swain said the three-act structure does that. It’s like life (childhood, long adulthood, fade out) or our day (morning, long work day, evening) etc. That’s why it is so powerful. Maybe deep down the milestones do subconscious work, too.

    When I teach character, I have the students imagine what their Lead was like at 16. It’s a common milestone for backstory. In your theory, it would correspond to my signpost “Trouble Brewing.”

    • Thanks, Jim, for those additions. I knew you would have some. I had originally studied “The Writer’s Journey” before I studied your books. When I reviewed the first chapter of “The Writer’s Journey” in the last couple weeks, I noticed that Vogler’s structure didn’t have some of the “mile stones” that you use. I wasn’t even certain that Vogler’s midpoint “Ordeal” matched up with your “mirror moment.”

      I’m curious whether other commenters today will have other suggestions for our life structure that are particularly vulnerable to be captured by story. The change from adolescence into adulthood at 16 certainly carries a lot of potential.

      Have a great weekend!

  2. We’ve all heard the quote, “The difference between fiction and realtity is that fiction must make sense.” Writers impose their own sense, their own structure and patterns, on the ridiculous blur of life. Part of it is already created for us, courtesy of our genre and craft, and part is our own worldview. But it boils down to we writers are arrogant snots who think we understand existence, and most readers are naive enough to think we do.

    • Great perspective on the subject, Marilynn. And those naive readers who don’t agree with the world view of those arrogant snot writers probably find writers with whom they agree. The arrogant – naive equation: How readers choose writers.

      Have a great weekend!

  3. Great post, very thought provoking.

    I’m in the middle of a session with my critique group, and have notice similar things. Some people’s stories are great, but end too soon and have no midpoint. At the same time, Iread some old favorite stories the past few weeks, and can’t put them down even though I know what’s going to happen. Haven’t had time to examine them, but I suspect it’s because of structure and resonance. So, here’s my theory: story structure mirrors a rollercoaster. We all assume that rollercoasters are a bunch of who knows what, but it actually has a very specific structure, a slow start, buildup, craziness, and then the gradual slow down. Physics, basically. Like at the beach when we anticipate a wave to crash over us, then it just collapses and washes over our toes.

    I’m babbling, cause I can’t dig any deeper than that.

    • Thanks, AZAli. I like your roller coaster analogy. And noticing that stories that resonate can’t be put down, even when we know how they end, prove that something connects story and reader. I agree: structure and resonance.

      I would say your “babbling” dug pretty deep. Thanks for adding to our understanding.

      Have a great weekend!

  4. “…a story touching something within the reader that is captured and begins to vibrate along with the story, magnifying and enriching the story. In other words, what is it within the reader that he/she identifies with the structure, that is similar in some way, and reverberates and resonates?”

    Steve, the above is an eloquent description of the reader and the writer sharing a moment of human connection.

    Added milestones for #3: falling in love; losing love; birth of a child; death of a loved one, particularly the first time it’s experienced.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Steve.

    • Thanks, Debbie. Yes, human connection. Isn’t that what we seek in a reading experience? And great additions to the milestones. I’m wondering (like Jim’s milestone of turning 16) if some of these more powerful milestones couldn’t be great points of “human connection” when used in back story for our protagonists.

      Thanks for your thoughts. And have a great weekend!

  5. Deep dive into Saturday. Thanks, Steve! (No, I really mean it…) 🙂

    I’d add: that moment when you realize how small you are in the universe. That life’s not all about you. That every point along your journey is an opportunity to take someone else by the hand. Is that the mirror moment? Maybe. Or farther along the journey, when you face the end? Could be.

    I’d guess some folks never get there until the split second before someone else closes their eyes, blotting out the path. I’ve known some of those, and always wonder what they see on the backs of their eyelids.

    A good story must take me to that moment. It must remind me that death doesn’t end life, tragedy doesn’t end opportunity, and others matter to the universe just as much, if not more, as I do. Any story, no matter the genre, can build these themes in, in one way or another. IMHO.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    • Thanks, Deb. I’d say you’re diving pretty deep for a Saturday as well. And that’s meant as a compliment.

      Your addition to the structure milestones is an excellent one. I would say that type of moment you describe is a milestone that sets a story apart as “transformational,” one that brings tears to your eyes and makes the reader determine to find more meaning in their life, and maybe even gain an interest in service for others.

      Thanks for that great suggestion. Have a great weekend!

  6. Thank you for a great post. The main reason I keep coming back to TKZ is for posts like this which I fully agree with the proposed theory. I like the mention about the Hero’s Journey. The thought I had the other is day, is that James Scott Bell should incorporate a new writing book on how Superstructure might work with the Hero’s Journey and those classic characterizations. I would buy that.

    At one time I only had the Freitag Model and Hero’s Journey to write with. I was very limited in what I could do because I was missing the tools to develop a story that even resonated with myself. Not knowing about signposts like the mirror moment made writing almost impossible for me.

    I have recently gone back to the points on the Hero’s Journey. There’s a character called the Shapeshifter and I realized that there have been dozens of people in my past who could fill this role. Let’s just say my own employees and other coworkers that were supposed to help have professionally screwed me over a few times in my other career. The experiences are like being stung by a wasp.

    To me the Shapeshifter is becoming a vital character in my process—just as important as a mentor. This goes in hand with the milestones that you were talking about, (not a life event but something that could be life changing). I feel it’s important to discuss how the protagonist will lift himself off the ground after being (so-called) stabbed in the back.

    Have a safe weekend and thank you for the insights.

    • Thanks, Ben. And thanks for being a regular here at TKZ.

      I’ll leave it to JSB to explain how his story structure and milestones relate to the Hero’s Journey. I’ve always felt that his instruction and books on superstructure and milestones are a further clarification of the Hero’s Journey.

      And, yes, the Shapeshifter is everywhere in our lives. Every commercial and salesman tries to convince us that they want to make our lives better, when they want to get their hands on our wallet. And, as you mention, coworkers and employees. The list goes on. All this to point out that the classic characters in our stories are also points of connection with our readers, and add to the resonance of a story.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Have a great weekend!

  7. Interesting post, Steve! For me, it’s not as much about my (or others’) life’s milestones, but more about story structure as a culmination of our species’ evolution. (And anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution can stop reading at this point.)

    Modern Homo sapiens have been around for roughly 200,000 years. Our cousins, Homo neanderthalensis, go back to our split with a common ancestor to maybe 500-600,000 years ago (“500-600 kya”). Even older genus Homo representatives go back millions of years. We’re not sure about the Millions kya, but for sure, conservatively, “recent” members of our Homo species have been telling stories around the fire for at least a half million years (scientists know that they had the vocal anatomy to do that).

    So, a half million years of telling stories, trying out different ways of doing it, failing, refining, improving, distilling, etc. Until here we are with what seems to work (at least for those who believe that Story Structure is a thing). And plenty of writing-craft gurus present their best versions of what this structure—collection of “beats” or “”signposts” or “turning points”—should be for long-form fiction to do its best job in telling a story that “resonates.” K.M. Weiland presents 9 such “plot points.” Larry Brooks has 7 key “milestones.” Our very own Mr. Bell has 14 “signposts.” And many others have many other “steps” or “points” that they present for our consideration of this question.

    In my case, I’ve merged the various approaches to come up with own Story Structure System that I follow. It doesn’t follow a “Life Arc” except in a crude sense, and, obviously, I haven’t reached my Resolution to know myself if I’ll end up a Comedy or a Tragedy. 😉

    • Interesting thoughts, Harald. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

      And thanks for mentioning K.M. Weiland and Larry Books. I have Larry’s last book – “Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves – outlined, and keep the outline beside me while I’m writing. I’ll have to check out Weiland’s 9 plot points.

      Have a great weekend!

    • You speak (as I was going to, darn it!) of the evolution of stories & storytelling & story structure as a result of (or at least in parallel with) anthropoid evolution, but stop just short of tying story to human evolution as cause and effect, respectively. Yes, story becomes part of a tribe’s oral tradition, but it seems to be universally deeper than that. Why the resonance? What is the mechanism? Is it possible there is enhanced survival value in stories? Do stories influence human evolution itself by modeling heroic behavior?

  8. I agree that readers are reading to subconsciously ID their own milestones, etc. Just as readers look for those things mostly unconsciously, writers try not to be too overt about writing to meet those needs. As writers we always say “I write to entertain” which is true. The word ‘entertain’ sounds superficial but it isn’t–there’s a lot that goes under the hood to make a story truly entertaining.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel without the intent of seeing what I could gain from it to benefit my own life. How did that person defy impossible odds? How did people in THAT decade survive what they went through? Etc.

    • Great points, BK. And even though most readers are probably not as intentional as you in trying to gain something to benefit their lives, the theories of story would claim that they subconsciously are absorbing those lessons, and (the theorists claim) those lessons have survival benefit.

      In any case, those stories that touch us are the ones we enjoy and remember. And, maybe, as writers we should seek the best ways to entertain and make a memory.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Have a great weekend!

  9. Great post, Steve. You address issues that I have never thought about. In most settings, when writers start talking about “structure”, my eyes glaze over and I hear the “wah-wah” sound that those of us of a certain age associate with the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher. Structure for me boils down to beginning, middle, and end. Setup, development, resolution. Allegro, adagio, minuet & trio, scherzo.

    I think that structure is an X-factor that hums unnoticed in the background of a story. It’s the bassoon line in most symphonies, where you never really know it’s there, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t–though you likely wouldn’t be able to articulate what wasn’t “quite right.”

    But I don’t agree that it’s the maker or breaker of resonance within a story. The most important element is character. Hard stop. And character is as much narrative voice as it is journey and conflict. Character development defines the difference between History textbooks and biographies that cover the same factual ground. The difference between telling and showing.

    When I [used to be allowed to] teach writing classes, I would advise my students to consider “structure” as described in writing texts to be more of an academic theory and to work with the boiled-down version of beginning, middle, and end.

    • Thanks, John, for explaining your theory. I like the way you explain character and narrative voice. Story wouldn’t have structure if it didn’t have characters and narrative voice to define and live it.

      I’m certainly enjoying Jonathan Graves’ narrative voice in “Hellfire,” which I’m currently reading.

      Have a great weekend!

    • I’m very much with you here, John. I never took a writing class; I just trial-and-errored my way through creating stories I wanted to read. I’m another one who’s all about the characters.

      Early on the late Barbara Parker read one of my early (1st novel, early draft early) submissions for her workshop, and she said, “You can write, which is the good part. You just need to learn structure, which is teachable.”

      I don’t think I’ve ever consciously gone beyond beginning, middle, end, and push-pull, throw things at the characters. By the time I hit a milepost, I’ve forgotten where the last few led.

    • I agree, John. To me, story structure is a necessary given in the background, like the framing of a house. It’s the characters and how they react and interact — and why — that drive a story forward. A story can have a perfect structure but fall flat if the characters are cardboard and the writing is humdrum. Fortunately for Steve and you, those are never issues! 🙂

  10. Great post & great timing, Steve. I recently read “Plot & Story Structure” by James Scott Bell. *Thumbs-up to Jim and, BTW, I’ve been bingeing on your craft books – “Dazzling Dialogue”, “Unforgettable Characters”, “Voice”, “Mental Game of Writing”, “Making a Living as a Writer”, and “Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing”. It was “How to Write Pulp Fiction” that started me down this fascinating, 2-week rabbit hole.*

    Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Jim’s books (which are clearly articulated and must-reads for writers at any stage) show and tell how vital the 3 Act Structure is for effective and resonating storytelling. In his comment this morning, Jim mentioned childhood, adulthood, and fade out as well as morning, long workday, and evening as Acts 1,2 & 3 of life’s journey. I equate it to birth, life & death with discovery, purpose, and meaning.

    Jim identifies a powerful milestone of age 16 in a person’s life. Doing some 3 Act math, Act 1 generally should be 1/6 of the story’s structure, Act 2 around 2/3, and Act 3 the last 1/6. I like to think of it as Act 1 being the situation, Act 2 being the struggle, and Act 3 the solution. Bringing-in the 16-factor, Act 1 ends at age 16, Act 2 at age 64, and Act 3 at age 80 which corresponds to graduation, retirement, and passing on to whatever is next.

    I think the reason the 3 Act Structure resonates so well is that we’re hard-wired to understand it and we expect it in stories. All resonating stories deal with life and death to some degree whether it’s physical, professional, or psychological and the best stories are how the lead character struggles to overpower life’s obstacles and opposition and wins though sheer strength of willpower. (This came from one of Jim’s books – not from me.)

    I’m at age 64 right now, so I guess my curtain is closed on Acts 1 & 2. Now I have to find some sort of resonating meaning out of what’s ahead in Act 3. Enjoy your day, Kill Zone folks!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Garry. I agree there is a “wiring” in all of us that is seeking the electricity of story within structure. Otherwise there’s just a fizzle or low hum.

      • Yes, I’ve heard it said that story is in our blood, which is why stories told within the HJ structure, or equivalent, resonate for us. Story is innate and good. Plots where readers’ heroes are killed off are an abomination.

    • Sorry for the delay in my response. Our electricity went out about an hour ago, and I was in the middle of responding to your comments.

      Thanks, Garry, for your comments. Great commercial for Jim’s books. Just kidding.

      You mentioned recently that you were kicked out of your writing space, because your son was home from college and had reclaimed his bedroom. Great time for catching up on the reading.

      As for that 3rd Act after retirement (I recently retired): I like to consider it the battle between dwindling away with no purpose vs. finding some meaning in leaving a legacy.

      Hope your get your room back soon. And have a great weekend!

  11. Fascinating theory, Steve. You did a brilliant job of laying it out, too. I’m a huge structure fan, thanks in large part to JSB and his books on structure. I’m less keen on the Hero’s Journey as a tool for my own writing, because it feels overly prescriptive to me.

    Your milestone approach, on the other hand, really does resonate with me (couldn’t resist the pun, but it’s also true).

    Other milestones for your consideration: making a new best friend, creating a family, be it by birth or the “found” kind(the latter especially resonates with me), achieving a moment of insight/enlightenment (this often happens just before the Final battle, during or at the end of the Darkest moment), and giving something up, essentially a sacrifice.

    As for how we can build these milestones into our story to increase resonance with the reader, I’d say that these milestones can appear in many guises–“retirement” for instance, can mean leaving one situation for something new, and purehaps better, and of course, that’s what the hero does when they Gird for Battle. Strive to make it as intrinsic and organic to your particular story.

    That’s what I strive to do in my own fiction. New friendship, found family, and shared understanding with the antagonist (certainly not always the case) are some of my own milestones.

    Thanks for an extremely thought-provoking and well-thought out post. So much food for thought here. Have a fine weekend!

    • Thanks, Dale. You have lots of great ideas for creative milestones. Those that you use in your own stories sound like great ones. They remind me of the “pet the dog” or the “care package” that Jim uses.

      Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough comment. Have a great weekend!

    • A few years ago, I participated in a HJ thread where Chris Vogler weighed in to remind us that the HJ was not intended to be prescriptive. Story structure is not a science; or, if it is, it’s more like Social Science, fraught with shameless generalizations and semi-rational conjecture.

  12. I remember the first time I encountered programming modules, I resisted. It seemed like taking shortcuts.

    But eventually, I came to appreciate how a familiar interface allows the user to engage with your program more quickly and easily. The programmer’s application can still solve problems in a unique and useful way.

    It’s comparable to a story’s deep structure, which uses a familiar framework to lure the reader into the narrative.

    • Great analogy, Mike. I know nothing about programming, but having a familiar interface or structure does help us solve problems or learn new information more quickly. And that’s the theory (according to the experts), that the familiar structure allows us to learn from others mistakes and experiences.

      Thanks for another way to look at the subject. Have a great weekend!

    • Yes. There’s nothing less fun than having to fix a program written without structural principles. It is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

  13. Everyone talks about the “Hero’s Journey” but what about the “Heroine’s Journey.” Barbara Samuel/O’Neal does a workshop about the differences, especially in women’s fiction.

    The only thing I have to add to Steve’s post (beyond my response to Mr. Gilstrap) is the Samuel Johnson quote: “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”

    • For what it’s worth, Gail Carriger’s The Heroine’s journey is also about that structure. I really enjoyed it, and found it very informative. Definitely worth taking a look at.

    • Thanks, Terry for your comments. You mentioned the workshop Barbara Samuel/O’Neal does. Is any of that information available in print?

      And your comment about the Heroine’s Journey, reminded that my wife always responds to my mentioning the “boys in the basement” with “What about the ‘girls in the attic?”

      Have a great weekend!

  14. Thanks for another well-researched, well thought-out post, Steve! It certainly generated a lot of great responses and additional valuable info! TKZ is such a gold mine for writers, and your posts help inform and enrich us all!

    • Thanks, Jodie. I really liked your comment above (under John’s comment). It expresses what I thought we would end up with today. It takes BOTH characters and structure for a story to resonate. As you state, you can have a sound structure, but “if the characters are cardboard and the writing is humdrum” the story will “fall flat.” And the other side: Even if the characters are well-developed and memorable, if they are not doing anything (structure), the story risks becoming boring.

      Thanks for always adding your wisdom! Have a great weekend!

      • So true, Steve. I guess to me, an exciting plot is more than the structure, the framework… Structure doesn’t include essential elements like conflict, tension, and intrigue, or techniques like foreshadowing, does it? But a good overall structure is certainly essential too. Thanks for your take on this huge topic about all the elements that make up fiction we can’t put down! 🙂

  15. Steve –
    Another provocative post!
    Resonance, in my mind, is when story engages the reader in the stuff of life. Though our writing is fiction it is, at its best, a vehicle of truth. Stories resonate, imo, when the experiential, harsh, poignant, and loving realities of fictional characters and events mirror the struggles, joys, disappointments, pain, thrills and emotion of readers’ daily lives.
    Structure is an element that enhances reader engagement and fosters meaningful resonance of the story with the emotion and trials of readers’ lives (no matter how radically different they or their circumstance are from that of the fictional story.)
    Neat topic and fertile topics for much more discussion. I got no further than discussing resonance… hoping for more on structure from others.
    PS – i’m showing no comments as of 1:15 – suspect tech difficulties?

    • Thanks, Tom. Great to hear from you. Good description and discussion of resonance, structure, and character. And, yes, we could discuss this topic for hours.

      Not sure about technical difficulties, my electricity was off for about an hour from noon to 1 pm EDT. The previous comment came in at 1:34 pm EDT, an hour before yours. There did seem to be a slow period this morning. But the comments usually slow down by early afternoon.

      Hope things are going well for you. Have a great weekend!

  16. Steve – after i posted other comments appeared.
    Also several days recently post will not show till afternoon.
    Isolated to me or issues with site??

    • Thanks for letting me know, Tom. There have been other recent complaints of a nonresponsive site, or delays. I’ll pass the word on to our IT person.


    • Not alone. This has been happening for several weeks. Really cuts down on the interactivity of the page.

      Today is one of the few days I’ve been able to see comments without hassle.

  17. Steve,

    I found a marvelous series of archetype’s representing the six stages you listed on KM Weiland’s blog. I found it a fascinating rabbit hole to go down.

    So there’s not just the Hero’s Quest but also the Maiden’s Initiation, Queen’s Battle, King’s Awakening, Crone’s Pilgrimage, and Mage’s Mission. If you’re interested or have time (lol !), the various arcs are listed at the bottom of this article:

    • And just to say thank you too, Steve, for your thought provoking blog.
      And on a great note, I finally saw everyone’s comments on the day of a blog here. It’s been awhile!

      • Thanks, Lisa. That’s a great article on K.M. Weiland’s blog. Thanks for the link. I plan to study it.

        I’m glad you were able see the comments on TKZ today. I think the IT people have been working on it for awhile. I’ll pass along your note.

        Have a great weekend!

  18. Steve, your post today is remarkable. I had never considered the “resonance” aspect of a story connecting with a reader, but it makes so much sense. And I agree a reader’s personal experience combined with their own DNA would combine to create an emotional response to a story. I suppose that’s why different people react differently to the same book.

    I would add a couple of other life experiences to your list, some of which I saw in the comments: marriage, child birth, moving to a new area, children growing up and leaving the nest.

    I suppose at the most fundamental level, the structure of a story is an exercise in problem solving. Act 1 presents the problem, Act 2 presents various possibilities and efforts to solve it, Act 3 finds a resolution or a failure. Much of life is defined by this simple structure.

    Thanks again for enhancing my understanding of the craft of writing.

    • Thanks for taking the time to stop by and add your thoughts, Kay. I appreciate it. Sorry I’m so late in responding to your comment.

      Your list of life experiences was good, and reminded me of the conversation yesterday, when someone mentioning the “heroine’s journey.” Dale mentioned a book, “The Heroine’s Journey,” by Gail Carriger. I checked the intro on Amazon, and it sounds worth reading.

      Looking forward to your post on 8/17. Have a good weekend!

  19. Superb post, Steve. Sorry I’m late! I had an all day book event yesterday. The comments are equally fascinating. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, Steve!

    • Thanks, Sue. I hope the book event went well. Yes, we had a lively discussion yesterday. Discussion of structure brings out some strong opinions. Hope you have a good weekend as well.

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