Questionable: Story Form and Function

Mary (Egads) Wrote:

I’d like your thoughts on how form affects story.
I’m reading Alone With All That Could Happen: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft of Fiction Writing by David Jauss. Jauss gives an example of student writing that failed to flow, not because of syntax, but because of form. The short story had six scenes, each scene was about the same length and structured the same. Despite the good writing, the story was dissatisfying because “the sameness of length made the story’s rhythm seem choppy, almost staccato, and worse, it implied that each scene was somehow of ‘equal’ importance, when some were clearly more dramatic and life-altering than others.” He speaks to the similar scene structure saying, “the effect of six consecutive sections of similar structure and length was oppressive… This student’s story failed to flow because it was, structurally, repetition without variation.”
This probably comes up as part of revision, but what do you think about when you consider how form shapes story? How do you use form to give weight or emphasis? How can form reflect what is happening in the story?

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