"There is such a thing as a universal plot skeleton, an essential narrative formula that all successful writers of... fiction use."
And this formula is one that I have told our would-be writers to use time and again: A character is faced with a problem that he needs to solve, and he either solves it, or fails to solve it, and is in some way changed.
Bob was much more detailed in his formulation, and gives many examples of how this has worked over the centuries. And so I say, "Would-be writers: Get this issue of Asimov's, type out the plot form, and use it, please?" Oh yeah, there have been interesting stories that broke this and other rules, but as with Picasso, become a competent artist first before experimenting too wildly.
At this moment, the Asimov's website is still dealing with last month's issue. We hope that when it is updated, it will contain a link to this fine article -- "Towards A Theory Of Story".
Please send us your ideas!
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