For the first writing prompt of the new year I thought I’d challenge you to try something new.
Most of us should be familiar with three act structure which most movies and books use. A lot of people might also be familiar with five act structure. But have you heard of kishotenketsu structure before?
Kishotenketsu is a story structure used in Japan, China, and Korea. It isn’t conflict driven like three and five act structures are and uses a four-beat system where the first two beats are set-up, the third is a twist/complication, and the fourth the resolution which ties it all together.
To gain a better understanding you’re going to have to do, dun-dun-dahn, research! Here are some articles I used when writing my first kishotenketsu structured story:
- Kishotenketsu for Beginners – on Mythic Scribes
- Kishotenketsu: Four Act Narrative – by Kate Krake, a Brisbane author
- and for the horror writers, The Skeletal Structure of Japanese Horror has a few examples using western urban legends to help wrap your head around it.
Before you panic too much about tackling something so unfamiliar, you can find a blend. My story Hanabi to Kitsune uses both kishotenketsu and three-act structure (though more strongly kishotenketsu, but with some conflict so it could sell in a western market (which it did)).
So challenge yourself to do something new and try writing a story using kishotenketsu structure. Feel free to put any links in the comments to the work you produce from this prompt, we’d love to see what you do.