Magnificent 7 Entry Points
1. The Story – which encompasses the “plot” – theme – thread, the focus, the well-honed narrative once you separate out the chaff or extraneous of the situations. The conflict or source of tension.
2. The Situation (precedes Story) – the background material supporting plot –from which you will choose what to put in, what to leave out on the cutting floor. The really raw material – most of the situation, but not all, gets digested, compacted, condensed, left aside. The situation holds the conflict, the adverse circumstances and events – but is not the story.
3. The Archetypal Juice (current, electrical) or “totemistic power”–“is a universally understood symbol, term, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.” Generally, an archetype is a person, thing (an icon such as Christ), a place such as Camelot or Shangri-la, an animal.
4. Characters – great entry point to a memoir. Human interest; we like to read about the trials & triumphs of our species, our struggles are often similar.
5. The Point of View & Voice overlap – POV – is a character’s perception of the story world. A well developed POV allows the character’s foibles & flaws to bleed onto the page. The Voice belongs to the narrator, the storyteller. As the narrator, your way of using words, pacing sentences, and selecting images is as unique as fingerprints. Voice can texture or provide mood, humor.
6. The arc or narrative arc (or drive) – ¬is the path or trajectory of change from beginning to end, the mounting of tension, complexity, or questions; the arc/drive can be episodic; the critical aspect is that something changes over the course of the narrative—a new deeper understanding, acceptance, epiphany.
7. Structure or form THE CONTAINER that unifies or sets boundaries, parameters for time, place, action (a la Greek theater). Conventions may be followed, broken, or re-invented in creative non-fiction. Consider the use of time, diary, journal, faux memoir – mixing fiction and non-fiction. Dreams, poetry, woven in, can all move story along.