The Map is not the Territory. Terristory. Storitory. Whatever.

Learning how to write has been an incredibly long journey for me. And I want to write about this journey that has taken more than thirty years of my life so far, but I still don’t know how to start it. There are too many stops and starts, and stairs, and frankly I’m not sure that it’s possible to do without killing readers to death with boredom. Or talking down to them. Or insulting them. Or misdirecting them [1].

But I’m going to share one thing that has helped me get off the starting block: Blake Snyder’s Three Act Timeline.

If I’m on the Oregon trail, this thing is the map. This is the thing that has made it possible for me to stand in my wagon and shout “Westward Ho!” just before it lurches forward and I fall back, striking my head and suffering from a brain fever for the rest of my days.

It’s the map. It’s the map for writing stories.

It might not be the map that everyone would want to use, but it’s the one that is getting me where I want to go.

It’s not going to keep me from starving. It doesn’t prevent disease. And it’s not going to protect me from flying arrows or getting scalped or snake bites or any other horrifying things that might happen to me on the Oregon Trail of Writing.

This is just a map that points me in the right direction. And following it just might get me to where I want to go.


Blake Snyder’s Three Act Timeline: Thesis – Antithesis – Synthesis

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

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