How The Story Arc Works On Medium

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writer composing for medium

Writing on Medium works best when using a dramatic story arc structure

 

Medium.com is a website dedicated to publishing writing. Anyone with an account here can publish pretty much anything they want, as long as their story follows the guidelines.

These guidelines are pretty normal. No hate speech, no doxxing, no calling out. There are some specifics in the terms of service, but nothing out of the ordinary and indeed there are some very unconventional pieces published there.

One of the best features of Medium is that they describe the writing submitted there as stories.

Not articles, not blog posts, not filler content.

I really appreciate that idea. I like reading stories. I like writing stories. I think that’s how we communicate as people, with stories.

That being said, the easiest way to get along on Medium; finding readers and getting claps is by writing your story in a story arc format.

We all learned about various writing formats in high school or university.

  • News articles with the inverted pyramid format,
  • 5 paragraph essays with an intro, a conclusion and in between 3 sub topic paragraphs,
  • Compare and contrast with alternating paragraph emphases

but Medium works best on a dramatic story arc.

I personally prefer the Freytag pyramid structure which consists of 5 parts. You can read more about that here –> Freytag pyramid

The 5 parts of the Freytag model

The exposition: which is where the main idea or problem is introduced and explained.

The rising action: which is where the elements are laid out in sequence so that the reader can understand how the writer got to where their main point resides.

The climax: which is where the protagonist’s fate is changed. It is where the writer establishes the main turning point of the story.

The falling action: which is where the protagonist succeeds or fails in their conflict. Stories in Medium are often written from a first person point of view, so this portion tell show the writer’s life changed after the climax.

The dénouement: which is the resolution of the initial conflict.

Freytag’s analysis has been changed and elongated a bit with the advent of the storytelling media of TV and movies. Often there are struggles internal to the main story plot where it seems the hero is in danger of failing in their quest. These help enrich the original story.

These additional scenes in a story add interest and keep the reader hanging on the writer’s words.

There are many stories on Medium which are reactions to news events; not just op-ed pieces but actual stories where the writer relates something that is current to an event in their past. The best of these follow the dramatic story arc, so that it’s possible to follow the writer’s logical progression.

Medium is a wonderful place to write and to read. I’ve discovered numerous writers whose pieces I love. I wait for them to publish new stories because they are so good.

It’s not that all of them follow a dramatic story arc, but they are all easy to read and have a familiar structure.

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