The science of storytelling.

I saw a show this weekend that was, um, a little hard to follow.  But so many of the problems with the show could have been corrected had the authors listened to Mrs. Apostolu, my AP Chemistry teacher.

As writers and producers we need to remember that stories aren’t created out of nothing.  They are put together.  Made in a lab from our own version of the periodic table of elements.

You can’t make salt without Na and Cl.

You can’t make water without 2 Hs and an O.

And you can’t make a story without the perfect combination of character and conflict.

Whenever I forget how to balance that chemical equation, I go to this chemistry textbook . . . or, to mix metaphors, the best blueprint for script writing there is.

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Comments
  • George Frankley says:

    May I also recommend “Story” by Robert McKee? I’d never written anything when I read it. It made great sense. Based on its guidance, I wrote something that I’ve been told has a very solid story structure.
    It gets some flak (in the movie “Adaptation,” for instance) for being too formulaic, but it’s a formula you’ll recognize in nearly every single movie or show you’ve ever liked.
    Written for screenwriters, but key for us too.

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