I don’t use this space to do many book reviews; I do that mostly over on Goodreads. However, I found a section of David Wilcock’s The Synchronicity Key that could be especially interesting for all the writers out there. Though I just read his book this week, I see clearly that the successful stories I have written have followed the patterns Wilcock explains, while the ones that didn’t follow these patterns are still living in the arid wasteland of my hard drive, visited only by the stray tumbleweed. If synchronicity or writing interests you, it might be worth your while to pick up a copy.
Wilcock’s main point in this section is that people/readers/viewers expect certain things because our brains are hardwired similarly (Synchronicity, you know). So we crave similar elements in our entertainment no matter the genre or subject matter.
Plot structure: Wilcock explains how all stories are versions of the Hero’s Journey which we credit to Homer and teach our students in lit classes. The most outrageous of ideas can work if the author uses not necessarily a lock-step pattern but a definite structure similar to the classic hero’s.
Time structure: If your book is a 120 page book, the plot should break into three significant acts where the first would last for 30 pages, the second for 60 pages, and the final act 30 pages.
Character structure: People expect to find certain types of characters (archetypes) in order to connect with the story. And synchronicity is all about interconnectedness. The audience has an innate desire to find the character’s flaws so they can “transfer (their) identity into that character.” If this transfer doesn’t happen, the rest of the story falls apart. When it does happen, the audience is ready for the ride.
Do books and screen plays break these rules and still become successful? Sure. Is there way more to writing than this? Absolutely. Are all three of these ideas shocking revelations? Probably not. Wilcox is showing that since people are collectively interested in stories told with these elements, a writer can reach a wider audience by telling the story in this manner. It’s worth some time to ensure your story connects with your audience.