by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) There’s been a tremendous amount of discussion about killing characters this week, as HBO revealed whether a key character on Game of Thrones was actually dead or alive. The discussion had merit, as HBO, and especially Game of Thrones, has a habit of killing off significant characters in their narratives. Obviously, any... Continue Reading →
by Fin Wheeler Last week, Fin told us the truth about non-linear storytelling. This week, Fin expands on that idea with six steps to improve screenplay structure with better linear storytelling. 1. Read complex classic literature When you’ve read a few well-known classics, you realize that story is story; it always has been and always... Continue Reading →
by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) For many years, documentaries were not a form of storytelling enjoyed by mass audiences. Occasionally, a musical documentary of interest to viewers would break through the sea of science and educational fare that ruled the genre. A few decades ago, all that changed. Documentaries have become one of the most exciting and... Continue Reading →
by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) (Warning: as the title implies, this article is FULL of spoilers) While crafting The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams wisely decided to lean into the elements that made the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) universally engaging. His take on a galaxy far far away shows us that we cannot... Continue Reading →
by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) Mythologist Joseph Campbell spoke of the necessity of sending your hero into the underworld. As polite people in society, we often lack the nerve to be as mean to our characters as we need to be. It’s in the underworld where our characters will suffer their greatest pain, take on their most... Continue Reading →
by John Bucher (@johnkbucher) Conflict is a necessity in good storytelling. One of the strongest ways you can increase the conflict in your story is to compress time. There’s perhaps no greater thrill for an audience than watching a character race against a merciless clock. Here are nine clocks to challenge your hero with. 1. THE... Continue Reading →
In this video Kal Bashir of How to Structure a Successful Story recently laid out a story map for Iron Man 3.
Plotting is like sex. Plotting is about desire and satisfaction, anticipation and release. You have to arouse your reader's desire to know what happens, to unravel the mystery, to see good triumph. You have to sustain it, keep it warm, feed it, just a little bit, not too much at a time, as your story goes on. That's called suspense. It can bring desire to a frenzy, in which case you are in a good position to bring off a wonderful climax.
Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting answered the following question for Script Magazine: "How many subplots should I have and how do I make them work with the overall story?"
This article from The Script Lab takes a look at the battle that every writer fights to not just create an unforgettable story but unforgettable characters as well AND to make the two fit together flawlessly. When push comes to shove, which will make a better movie?