chapter  4
10 Pages

Counter-Structure

As we have seen, stories cast in restorative three-act form tend to be conservative, suggesting an orderly, clear-cut world in which characters control their own fates and action is redeemable by motive. These stories don’t speak to the more ephemeral sense of experience we mentioned in the last chapter. To express a more disjointed world, changing content is not enough; structure, too, must function in more ambiguous ways. Sometimes, it is placed in the foreground and made very obvious. By calling attention to itself, structure suggests the artificiality of form over the chaos of day-to-day experience. At other times, structure becomes flattened and apparently minimized, creating the illusion of documentary randomness.