What's The Difference
What's the difference between a dictionary and a story?
The story contains structure. Structure is created by words falling in patterns, known as sentences, which create meaning.
Without Meaning, What Is There?
Without meaning, few people will read. That is why few people read the dictionary straight through.
Could a lack of [coherent] structure be what is wrong with our writing?
Could it be that when people read our stories they have difficulty finding meaning?
If the reader cannot understand our obvious meaning, is it possible that they are getting lost?
Are they losing their purpose while reading our stories, ending up feeling only as stimulated as if they are reading a dictionary?
Why Do Writers Often Believe Structure Is Evil?
I think it's because structure often reminds us of 11th grade English class, the research paper and all those outlines and notecards. Structure attacked us. It often represents a lack of creative freedom.
Readers Crave Structure
However, the reader craves structure. Why? Because readers don't read everything. Instead they want to read specific details about a specific topic.
What Do Spider Monkeys Have to Do With Anything?
For example, suppose you are looking for information related to spider monkeys.
Googling: "spider monkey"
returns: "About 1,390,000 results"
As a reader do you really want to read through all those results?
Only Relevant Info Please
No, you'd much rather pick up a book or article that provides you with relevant information about spider monkeys.
What if, in the middle of the article you are reading on spider monkeys that the author suddenly starts talking about clothes dryer repair. Mine just broke and I had to take it apart. There are a lot of pieces in there.
Good Structure Is Good For Everyone
So, even if your 11th grade English teacher has traumatized you into thinking structure is detrimental to the creative process, I believe thinking about structure in this way can be very helpful and help you write better articles, books, and stories.
Yes, even fiction benefits from it.
Keep on Learning, Keep On Writing.