Good bones lie at the root of every good story. That means there needs to be a sound structure to hold up the story from beginning to end. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
The bones are hidden beneath all the elements that make your story wonderful: the characters, the plot, the dialogue, the twists and turns that keep your readers on the edge of their seats. The bones have been constructed carefully and thoughtfully, having been placed and moved and torn down many times in the writing process. In a well-written story, you will never see the bones.
But there are rotten bones out there.
I cannot tell you how many stories I’ve read over the years that make me scratch my head in bewilderment. I am completely at a loss as to how these books ever made it through an agent’s scrutiny, let alone the printing press and store shelves. They’ve got rotten bones. Lots of them. Horrible sentence structure, appalling grammar, inappropriate word usage; I could go on and on. Then to add to the disaster, the storytelling is disjointed and boring. How do these books get published?
You can never hide rotten bones.
If you’ve got rotten ones, get rid of them quickly, because they will spoil the whole structure. When they crumble and fall apart, your story will come falling down with them. Give that story strong bones to stand on.
Oh wow. I just realized that I’ve written a blog on bones.
Must have been the residuals from the creepy dream I had last night.
2 responses to “Hide the Bones”
I’m confused, Wendy.
I always thought the bones of a story are all the big things–like plot and characters–and such things as sentence structure, word choice, and grammar are like the skin.
I guess I need to think about this one.
My own take on this, Rick!