What a lot of clever things have been said on this thread! I have read through them all now and it’s all fascinating.
I love Dara Marks, @raine, and your summary is brilliant. I’m getting ready to do NaNoWriMo with book two now and I’m holding these ideas in my head (as opposed to an actual firm plan, which truly is beyond me at first draft stage). While Im not a planner – more a thinker on paper, as @emmad says, lots of scribbles and musings – I find the deep structure of story profoundly satisfying and utterly fascinating. It does seem to resonate with what it is to be human, psychologically. Some stories have that satisfying ‘clunk’ to them, while others seem to skim the surface. I’m still on a learning curve with all this but really think there’s SO much there at a very deep level.
Yes, I agree that stories that just ‘work’ do have something profound and innate that chimes with human psychology. All these books on arcs and structure attempt to pin that down. And I also think that you can do a lot with this knowledge, but equally a lot of it lurks at the subconscious level – which is when you find things bubbling up you’ve never planned. And I also feel strongly – for me anyway – that it’s so important to hold space for the subconscious to do just that. Which is why rigid pre planning doesn’t do it for me. I find out my themes and structure as I go and hack away to refine it in the edits. Not to say this is the best method, at all, but it seems to be how I work.
@philippaeast – what really interesting thoughts! This whole thread has got me pondering. You lot are fantastic.