What is more important?
Plot (structure) or Characters to a story?
McPhee tells us about the importance of chronological structure.
I hope you enjoy.
Chronology is useful but hostile to thematic content, the writer says.
You can build a structure in such a way that it causes people to want to keep turning pages. A compelling structure in nonfiction can have an attracting effect analogous to a story line in fiction.—John McPhee, in The New Yorker
“There’s nothing wrong with a chronological structure,” McPhee explains in a recent New Yorker essay. “On tablets in Babylonia, most pieces were written that way, and nearly all pieces are written that way now.”
And yet, after ten years of chronology at Time and The New Yorker, McPhee, who is famous for his intricate structures and says he is obsessed with structure, yearned for a thematically dominated piece. In his new essay, “Structure” (Jan. 14, 2013), he says almost always there is “considerable tension” between chronology and theme, and chronology wins. “The narrative wants to move from…
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