On plot and structure

Sometimes I need to be reminded of the following, as explained by Warren Ellis on his tumblr page.

willsee90 asked:
What are your thoughts on plot? Breaking rules, especially structural ones, leads to great works, but every story has some kind of structure and thus a set of rules, even if they’re wholly its own. What do you make sure to do when coming up with plots, and what are some plot elements you generally hate/see as too easy? And do you ever use those element if they fit?

A:
You need to stop obsessing about plot and structure.  They are signposts and supports, not writing stories.  There was a guy who’d yell over and over again that Stories Are Structure, but his own writing never rose above the shape and quality of a middling James Bond film.  Stories are not nothing but structure.  Stories have to breathe.  Otherwise you’re publishing nothing but nicely-dressed checklists.

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