If character is the heart of story, then plot and structure is the body. The structure
is the environment, the landscape, the dimension in which your characters work their
way through the plot to its inevitable conclusion (yes, if you have done your work
right, the conclusion of your plot must be inevitable even if it's a surprise ending).
But we'll get to that later.
Plot and structure can function independently of each other. A plot can be revealed
in flashback, it can move backwards from the end to the beginning, it can move around
in time and place and dimension, but however you structure it, it must be both consistent
and necessary for storytelling purposes. The classic film, Sunset Boulevard
begins with Joe Gillis (William Holden) floating face down in Norma Desmond's (Gloria
Swanson) swimming pool. As the dead man in the pool, Gillis narrates the story from
his POV (point-of-view) from his end in the story to the beginning—a perfect marriage
of plot, structure and character to best tell the story of how he ended up dead
in the pool.
In Jonathan and Christopher Nolan's brilliant film, Memento, time and structure
are totally bent and shuffled to the point where they become major characters in
a remarkable character driven plot.
How about the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Future?
The Star Wars epic began with Chapter Four.
And can you possibly imagine Casablanca without flashbacks to Paris?
As I do with all of my students and clients, my analysis of your writing will critically
examine the backbone and thrust of your plot and structure. I will offer you detailed
notes, advice and suggestions on such topics as: