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Thoughts on Story Structure

August 23, 2015

After a night of sleeping on it--and a conversation with someone who knows a thing or two about narrative structure--I decided I still might not have the Main Character Throughline down as well as I thought I did.

Essentially, I was keeping her struggle cerebral when really it should have been more external. With her Domain in Activity that should have been obvious, but for some reason her Concern of Understanding threw me off. I need to focus on things she does that cause problems for her, not the internal struggle to comprehend.

This is going to take some time to reengineer. But I think it opens up many new possibilities.

August 22, 2015

Found this article on How to tell when your storyform is right from Melanie (one of the creators of Dramatica). Goes well with the progress I experienced today on my screenplay.

A storyform is just the skeleton or framework of a story, so it is often difficult to determine which one is "proper" for a story you have in mind.

I spent many of my first years working with Dramatica fretting over the perfect storyform. No matter what, I always seemed to get it wrong.

So, how can we determine when we have arrived at the best storyform to act as a pattern for our story? By feel. You need to "feel" that the words that crop up as Story Goal, or Main Character Domain express what you have in mind, both logistically and emotionally, for your audience.

This takes a long time to learn. A very long time. I've been working with Dramatica for almost 20 years now and I still make the occasional flub.

As with anything, the more you practice the better you get. Most of my proficiency with Dramatica comes from having this overall feeling of where a story is coming from thematically.

The rest is pure luck.

August 22, 2015

Going to try and work my way through the third Main Character Signpost of screenplay 2015-02 this weekend. Keep running into a roadblock trying to keep her issues consistent and evolving properly. Breaking it out into its own document like I did with the Relationship Throughline a few weeks back certainly seems to help--but man, is it difficult keeping it personal and focused.

August 22, 2015

I did it! Blasted through the 3rd Signpost after about an hour of struggling to rediscover the thread. Dramatica was an immeasurable help in this regard. So easy to get off track from your original intent when you only have an hour or two a day to write. Dramatica's storyform helps keep you honest to your original intent.

On to the fourth and final.

August 21, 2015

Story news so important it motivated me to create a new section to blog about it:

J. J. Abrams says no to midi-chlorians:

Many Star Wars fans have taken issue with the idea of midi-chlorians and how it gives the mystical Force an (unnecessary) biological component. The Force has traditionally been spiritual in nature and required one to be more aware of their surrounding in order to use its power. That Abrams is taking the concept back to its roots is an encouraging sign for those hopeful that Force Awakens will take the franchise back to its glory days.

Sounds like a return to competent and thoughtful storytelling. Can't wait.

August 21, 2015

More amazing news that deserves mention: Deadwood wrap-up movie may still be a thing. Garret Dillahunt (Francis Wolcott and Jack McCall) tweeted this last week:

So uh....I'm hearing credible rumors about a #Deadwood movie. #Everybodypray

So I went back to church last week. First time in a long time.

If it's true I wonder what will happen at the Veluzat Ranch. Last time I drove by it looked like they bulldozed the Gem. Swearingen probably won't take too kindly to that.

HBO had their response:

In reference to Garret Dillahunt’s tweet regarding the rumored Deadwood movie, there have only been very preliminary conversations.

Which really means keep your cocksucking mouth shut!

August 21, 2015

From One Great Shot:

George Miller might be directing *MAN OF STEEL 2. This juicy tidbit - still a rumor unconfirmed by either DC or Warner Bros. - comes from Jon Schnepp, director of the documentary THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES, and was made on this week's Popcorn Talk podcast ... Schnepp seems pretty positive this is a done deal.

I absolutely loved Mad Max: Fury Road, so this is great news. While the storytelling was sparse and far-between, the film still managed to offer up a competent and effective storyform. Far more than Man of Steel did (from what I hear, the first film's narrative was broken).

Spoke a bit about the storyform for Mad Max: Fury Road on Discuss Dramatica a couple of months back. Still need to write the official analysis.

August 21, 2015

Weekend Read is offering up funny hah-hah scripts for this week's read. I still have Animal Kingdom from last week's overseas category to read, so I think I'll skip this week.

In my analysis of Animal Kingdom I indicated how well I thought the narrative worked. And I used the Main Character 'J' as an example in my article, Heroes that Aren't. Figured it would be a good place to start building the habit of reading more screenplays.

Such a great idea. Every Friday at 9am I receive a notification of five new scripts to read over the weekend. Now I just need to find the time.


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