Random thoughts on filmmaking, life and science. Subscribe via email.

How to write a story!

A friend of mine recently expressed an interest in writing a fictional novel. Over the years I have contemplated writing a novel as well but never really sat down to figure it out until my recent leave from work (more on that later). I fired up my kindle and read a few books on how to write fiction and guess what? It is the same thing as writing a movie. Now I'm not suggesting the documents (a book vs. screenplay) are similar because they are definitely two different animals all together but when it comes to story structure there are no differences. In fact most of the books I read on novel writing referenced movies when talking about structure... Imagine that.

So after this realization I made the following cheat sheet and sent it to my friend. This is how I organize story structure for my screenplays. It is based on two theories that literally changed the way I look at stories. At USC I learned Frank Daniel's sequence method from Ted Braun using David Howards book and amended it with golden nuggets I learned from Blake Synder's "Save the Cat" book. The interesting thing is that this can work for a novel as well. The only difference would be how you divide it up. i.e how many pages/chapters make up a sequence. Exciting! Hope you find this useful.