Building Blocks To A Story

One of the first things I was taught about writing a story is the structure. I learned from Dr. Andy Cline about the inverted pyramid used in journalism-each paragraph presents the most important facts in order from top to bottom. (No, it isn’t always done that way, it’s just ONE method, which I have to say, is a great way to organize yourself.)

But while learning about structuring stories, I linked that process to an old routine which I have used since early childhood. My lessons in early life correlate directly with lessons I was learning nearly two decades later.

That lesson is that writing is just like building with Legos. Hear me out!

When you build something with Legos, you first get an idea of the end product. You then locate the pieces necessary to construct the object. Then, you build it, from the ground up, placing each piece in the desired spot, with a little trial and error. In the end, if all the pieces work, you should be left with your desired product. Then again, sometimes you lose the pieces needed, and have to scrap the whole project, or find a different way to do it from scratch.

I feel that writing a story is almost the exact same process. Firstly, you have to decide what your goal is with the story. What are you trying to say (or build)? Once you figure out the overall goal, you research the story, interview sources, and get the facts. You collect your necessary pieces. Then, you try to layout those pieces in the right order to produce your story. Along the way, you may run into snags, but as long as you find a way to deal with it, you can still reach your goal.

When you look at it my way, you may begin to see that even as we get older, the lessons learned early in life still have relevance. And on that note, you also have just learned that I’m just as willing to play with Legos now as I was over 15 years ago. It’s all a process, and the key is finding the way to make it work for you.


About Benjamin D. Peters

Ben is a reporter for The Missouri Times. Missouri State University alum, degree in media. View all posts by Benjamin D. Peters

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