Friends, today we are digressing slightly from the norm. This is not exactly about Shutter Island the book or movie. It isn't even about the structure of the story by Dennis Lehane as deconstructed by Larry Brooks on his website, storyfix.com (if you write or aspire to write - StoryFix is a must read). I guess it's really about the benefit of deconstruction in general and specifically as done by Larry Brooks.
First, let me begin by saying that I think Larry Brooks is a genius (or at least a really, super smart guy). I've just learned a ton about writing, structure and other writerly things due to his blog.
He recently, as in just finished it in the last couple days, a series of posts deconstructing Shutter Island. I think I have a fairly analytical mind, but I aspire to his level of skill in breaking apart a story. I am getting better at it as I read more of his deconstructions and deconstruct more stories for myself, but I still have a long way to go. As a writing tool, deconstruction is brilliant. I can't even read a book now without looking for the four structure parts, the plot and pinch points, it's really changed how I read. I want to see what the published authors are doing at the specific points in their stories that transition the four structure parts from one to the next.
Before Larry, I had never actively, consciously, thought about the parts of the story as he puts forth: the set-up, the response, the attack, and the resolution. And that each of these has a specific goal or mission to accomplish had sort of passed right by me as well. Now, they do not. I watch for them, I notice them, I appreciate them more when they are done well, and I'm excited by my new found recognition of them because they are improving my writing tremendously.
As a side note - Shutter Island... Leo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and a really amazing cast- seriously crazy amazing. Do I really need to say it? Watch the movie, read the book, do both, do one twice - you really will need to invest in more than one visit to Shutter Island (remember The Sixth Sense and you had to watch it twice? Think that one on wicked good steroids - no kidding).