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Essential Elements of a Story

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 4 months ago

-- Essential elements of a story




What’s the (line?) of this novel, its (essence?) that all the scenes in an adaptation would have to reflect or expand on in order for the movie to be true to itself? I’m talking about its (subtextual (truth? identity?)), ... at any rate it’s another form of subtext … that (core?) which makes something the thing that it is.




A film has a distinct identity. You could say “a film has [this] sort of character.”


This expresses itself in at least three ways: its Genre, its Premise [as defined by Egri] and its Style (what is unique about the feel and vibe of your movie).


Once you’ve figured out these 3 elements, you need to make sure you put ‘moments’ into your story that establish and re-inforce that. What will that do? It’ll: a) reward the audience, b) create consistency, c) keep the film on track, and d) remind people what they’re watching …


It's pretty basic stuff really: a horror movie needs horror moments in it (Genre) but they need to be what you define as horrific for the movie you're writing (Style) and they need to be specific to the themes of your movie (Premise). The idea of 'moments' is to make your story unique.


So: identify what your ‘moments’ are, then create them … and then make sure they’re spaced just frequently enough.




At the heart of your show are three things:

The Emotion you want to produce.

Your Central Character.

The Main Relationship.


Know these three things. It’ll focus the series design. And be aware - the answers will change.





I asked David about the four things I need to understand in order to 'get' a show. Those are: Situation, Main Character, Main Relationship and Emotion.


Emotion = "How do you want to the audience to come away from an episode feeling?" Related to this are issues of genre and themes. The Emotion is what I reckon you should produce once an act.


Main Character = "Is there a central character? Someone whose issues reflect the themes of the show?"


The Main Character and Main Relationship are who you would expect to see often in an episode.



I think that most of the ideas I write start off as pulp, genre stories where I'm jazzed about the set-pieces I can come up with and the cool twists I can write in.


It's only through revision and digging deeper that I start to care about the characters and stay engaged the whole way through the story when I read it.


The point: is to maybe get through the pulp phase into the real as fast as possible.


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