Monday, August 19, 2013

New Bookmark Now Availalble

Over the years of my work on many a story I've refined my "check list" of important story structural criteria. In recent workshops I've wanted to coordinate the "secrets" presented in the workshop, with the Moral Premise Bookmark, at least the check list on the BACK of the bookmark. Finally did it.

So, now (on the back) there are not 10, or 21, but 18 "Secrets of Successful Story Structure." And we all know that this is somewhat arbitrary because as you dig into a few of those so-called secrets they get bigger in terms of how they are applied. For instance, some people say that the Protagonist must be likeable. I'd say we must identify with him or her, which means we have to like them enough to follow and be intently interested in their decisions and outcomes. This is covered under item 17, and if you break that down there are over 20 techniques to help the audience identify with any and all of your characters. You don't use all of them... but the more the better the identification.

So, for what it's worth....and I figure each is worth thousands of dollars if they are understood and applied... on the left they are for FREE. AND THE LINK. (scroll to the bottom)

Your comments and improvements are always welcome.



Nimoben said...

Hello Stanley, I “stumbled upon” your articles on “Story Structure Basics” and “Story Hooks and Log Lines” through the T.D. Jakes Ministries MEGAFEST online information.

I found those articles very interesting and informative, to say the least. But your recommendation about the placement of a hook raised a question that I could not answer:

How can one start a true story with a hook event that occurred in the middle or at the end of the story?

I am close to the end of two movie stories and scripts that are based on true stories, but the events I would consider the “hooks” of the stories occur in the middle and at the end of the stories. What would you have done in my situation?

Stanley D. Williams said...

Nimoben: We'd have to talk specifics to know what you mean. The hook can describe an event or scene in a story, but it also hangs like an axe in the ceiling above the dining room table. It creates suspense throughout.

But the key to your dilemma is that you're trying to tell "true" stories. Biopics that are true to the personage actual life events typically fail as mainstream stories because they cannot be structured as dramatic entertainment. This is why "true" stories are always adapted. A movie can be "based on" or "inspired by" a true story, but rarely is it possible to make a "true" story from start to end of any great interest to a general audience. It just does not connect on a psychological human level about a universal truth.

The other solution is to take a small segment of the true story and expand it under the rules that I'll discuss in my workshops.

Trying to stay "true" to the explicit physical elements of a "real life story" and crating a story that is palatable and entertaining for a general audience is usually very difficult.

Think of stories as "myths" in the sense that "myths" exist to communicate a truth of who we are as humans....not a truth about an event. Thus, we tell people what a movie is about (the physical, visible story) and then we tell them what the movie is "REALLY" about, which is the deeper psychological, moral, or spiritual truth metaphored in the physical story.