#screenwriting #fiction #writer
“For any interested in my opinion on the creation of works of fiction, the following article will outline a single and basic means by which a story—defined loosely, a story can be thirty words, or thirty-thousand, and with grander orders of magnitude come, necessarily, grander versions of these same ideas—can be created. Specifically, this outline pertains to comedy, as opposed to tragedy: the difference being that in comedy, the hero (protagonist) ends happily and in tragedy, unhappily. By determining the elements here prescribed for a story prior to its creation, a writer, or a person writing, or, really, any person, can fashion for themselves a framework on which a story can be hung.
The first element is an object, even an abstract one; really, it can be any noun a person can think of. This noun is differentiated from the swarm by its attainment being the mark of the hero’s success. Throughout the rising action, the hero will desire this noun: girl, food, drink, shelter, an end to a crushing ennui, the support of the proletariat for revolutionary action (these last two are nouns—end, support—modified by the inclusion of articles, adjectives, and prepositional phrases), the destruction of the invading alien fleet, knowledge of the unknown, a vast horde of pirate gold, the horn of a rhinoceros slain by the village hero long before, in the dawns of time, and rumored to possess ancient power, or, simply, sleep. By fixing this variable for the protagonist before beginning the story, the writer can figure out the remainder of the equation.
This noun must be differentiated from any other by the writer, during the course of the story’s development. If food is the noun, then the author must tell the audience (or show, by example, as the current school of literary thought would insist) that the hero is starving and will not survive without food. This gives the noun consequential ponderance; the audience (readership, etc.) must realize that by the attainment of this object the hero has won; until the attainment, the hero has not won; if the hero does not attain the object, they will not win. The importance of the noun is paired with the consequences of failure. If the hero does not get food, they will die. If St. George doesn’t kill the dragon, then the maiden will die, the village will die, and St. George will die. If Hazel the rabbit doesn’t steal some female rabbits from somewhere, then he and the rest of his colony (an example of a protagonistic force extended to an ensemble) will die and there will be no baby rabbits to replace them. But, although it is important to create the weight of the object of the hero’s action, in creating how important the object to be attained is, the author creates little of the story.
The flow of thought that raises the depth of the story are the obstacles presented to the hero. These, in actuality, generate almost the entirety of the story’s action and movement; the basic structure of the story is the presentation of obstacles for the hero to overcome in his desperate need for whatever noun was chosen earlier by the author. If the hero needs food to prevent themselves from starving to death, then no story will compel a reader in which the hero is immediately given food by the author. Imagine……….”
#screenwriting #film #screenplay
“Your premise dictates the ideal shape of your story.
What is “premise”? Everybody defines it differently, and it’s pretty confusing. So let’s cut through the fog:
The premise is the smallest packet of information that suggests a story. The premise is the “story idea” from which a story can be built.
The premise has to at least be two nouns. Pixar seems to go into each new project with just a single noun. To complete the sentence “Let’s do a movie about…” they supply a noun: “toys”, “superheroes”, “the sea”.
These are not story ideas. There is no story idea there. There’s no premise.
To generate a premise, something in the noun’s world must be doing something. “A new toy challenges the established order.” “A superhero family fights evil.” “A fish searches for his missing offspring.”
Once you have a person place or thing in a world doing something, you have a story idea. There’s your premise. It’s basically a sentence. Subject and predicate. Subject-verb-object. Actor acts upon object.
How do you get a screenplay out of this? It’s easy. Idea = Ideal. The premise dictates the ideal shape of the story. How?
By abstracting the components of the premise.
For any given premise, there is a certain ideal shape to the story that results. The ideal may be endlessly elaborated, given the many configurations of characters, time periods and story worlds in which a given plot may rest — but it will be essentially the same ideal for any……”