We who aim to write stories study formulas — we dissect a story and consider ways we can recreate the effect by emulating the way great writers do — the Hero’s Journey, the Three-Act Structure, four acts, five acts, whatever.
But what if sometimes a writer just writes and writes and writes and gets so involved with the story that she forgets about the formula?
I have a hunch that those are the times when true genius shines through, and it’s only when the students start their studying that the writer realize how it all fit together as if she intended it from the start.
“Oh yeah, I meant to do that,” the writer might say, or in a more honest moment, “I was just swept away. I have no idea what I was thinking as it came out.”