INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

Comparative Narrative Story Structures Charted!

The greatest hits of story structure, all in one place, arranged chronologically and side-by-side for your comparative viewing pleasure! This chart is only a small selection of story templates available. … Continue reading

April 9, 2014 · 11 Comments

The Story Structure Countdown: How Different ‘Experts’ Say You Should Structure a Story

The Story Structure Countdown Lots of people have come up with lots of ways to map, chart, categorize, name and formulate story patterns and structures. (also see my Comparative Narrative Story … Continue reading

March 1, 2014 · 53 Comments

Why I Love Index Cards as a Writing Tool (Pt. 2): Full-Color Edition

Writing doesn’t always look like ‘writing’. For the last 2-3 weeks, my work on the current screenplay has consisted of staring at a wall of index cards (in photo at … Continue reading

April 11, 2013 · 7 Comments

Why I Love Index Cards: The Humble Office Supply That Can Leap Tall Problems in a Single Bound

I’ve been working with a client who developed and outlined his screenplay using index cards. (See photo left. One wall of the garage where we were working had easy access … Continue reading

March 5, 2013 · 2 Comments

Ira Glass (of “This American Life”) on the Building Blocks of Storytelling

The producer and host of the popular NPR storytelling show, describes why many stories don’t work and gives you the two basic building blocks of personal storytelling: 1. The Anecdote … Continue reading

February 12, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Chain of Promises: A Simple All-Purpose Structural Writing Device from Ben Bova

The Chain of Promises (from “Tips for Writers” by Ben Bova) Once you have the reader hooked with your opening, how do you keep her turning pages? The answer is … Continue reading

February 8, 2013 · Leave a comment

12 Stories That Almost Always Work

If you are looking for a story to tell, or have elements for your project, but are still searching for a genre, format, spine or central storyline, consider one of … Continue reading

January 31, 2013 · Leave a comment

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut’s (rejected) master’s thesis in Anthropology looked at the structure of stories told in different cultures, a topic he lectured on frequently. Here’s an illustrated transcript of a Vonnegut … Continue reading

January 17, 2013 · 3 Comments