Thursday, April 5, 2012

Patterns in Writing

Lately I've been thinking a lot about Patterns in fiction and have come to several conclusions. There are many patterns in fiction and we are exposed to them at an early age. From the time we are read stories by those older people in out lives we become attuned to the pattern of Beginning, Middle and End. How often do we hear those words Once Upon A time. Sometimes while planning a story I use those words to get myself started on my current WIP. That is one of the patterns we use when we write. The success or failute of a story often depends on how well we use this pattern.

Another Pattern is the use of familiar types of characters. Stories, especially those for children have archtypical characters. I was thinking about "Little Red Riding Hood and realized these characters are archtypes. There is the girl who is the heroine, the grandmother who is the victim, the wolf who is the villain and the woodcutter who is the hero. All archtypes. We often carry these characters into our stories.

There are the Patterns of speech. No matter what age we are writing for we try to fit the way the characters speak to the age of our audience. One set of words is used for the youngest with perhaps one word they aren't familiar with. Sometimes the words are used more for the pattern of the sound than for the meaning. "Fee, fie, foe, fum." Nice rhythm to those words but they also set a pattern of power.

This is as far as I've reached in my study of Patterns and I'm sure I'll find others. What about you? Do you look for Patterns when you write?


  1. It just so happens that I ordered and received the book The Complete Guide to Heroes & Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes.

    I going to read up on archetypes and see how I can work them into my stories.

  2. Once upon a time. . .or I'll write "picture this" and thanks to Janet and a lot of help from my friends, my stories work out all right.

  3. Great post! There are also patterns of conflict--pulling the rug out from under our hero(ine) to see how he/she will react and overcome.

  4. Your post is definitely thought-provoking and I'll need to take a look at some of the books I love. I'm sure there were patterns under my nose that I managed to miss!