Or are you going to pay attention to your prose writing professor?
I'll bet every great writer in any form, rolled over in his/her grave when they heard him/her say that Pearl of Wisdom.
I'll hang with Aristotle, Sophocles, Moliere, Shakespeare, Wilde, O'Neill, Williams, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, and hundreds of other more current/contemporary novelists and playwrights anyday!!!!!
I have listened to enough rambling "free form great stories" from drunks in bars over the years to realize great stories - whether novel or play or screenplay - have a structure to them. Not that a drunk can't be entertaining on occasion, but I'll stick with the Masters anyday for my art forms. On occason, I'll buy a drunk a drink. But for my storytelling, I'll buy a book or a play.
As several of my professors used to say, "Study the Masters."
Or...google ANY kind of list of good to great writers you want, and you will find the same thing.
I liked that article, I especially appreciated the literary movement timeline.
I have a related pondering:
A prose writing professor I had told me that in the 21st century, you don't have to worry about character conflict in your fiction. In my mind, character conflict, internal and/or external, is the essential element of a plot. When someone is bored by a story, I bet it's because it's lacking in a developing conflict which means little action. But that's just me coming from the time I spent learning how to write plays, and read plays, and then write some myself.
Is conflict as an indispensable basis for plot merely a playwriting thing, or really a general fiction thing?
I just read this article - LINK BELOW - the other day and was going to post it. Seeing your post seems like a perfect time.
I always suggest just write to get it the freshness of the story out and ON PAPER OR IN A FILE. If you think about twisting and wrangling with a "format" too early, it could become like wrestling like an alligator! You might just get your head twisted around so much, you can't get it out of your *sshole. You are going to have rewrite and rewrite re- write anyway. Just get the story out. (I know you have the story, but look at it afresh.)
It will then grow with it's winding vines from there.
It's been a while. I come with a question for you: Are there any plays that incorporate elements of magic realism? It's the idea that characters accept magic as part of the fabric of their waking, and otherwise realistic, life.
I was thinking about turning an autobiographical incident into a theatrical piece. Some of you may remember years ago that I tried to turn a painful event in my life into a two-act play. You may remember I was unsuccessful. I'd like to try it again, but this time with elements of magic.
The idea may also work as a short-story, or even a short novel. I'm still keeping that in mind as well.