Sean: Story Structure

I thought that this week I would share a bit of what I have learned while researching how to tell a good story. During the past couple weeks, I managed to read Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald, Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and Dan Harmon’s Story Circles, the two most recommended sources and which I highly recommend. While scouring the web I came across a useful little PDF that contains Harmon’s breakdown and Synder’s beat sheet along with other useful anecdotes.

McDonald’s main point in his book is the idea of creating an armature, that is defining the idea that you wish to convey and then using everything within your story to support this idea. McDonald uses the analogy of the wooden skeletons used to support clay models to show how the underlying structure is important but invisible at the end.

Snyder’s book revolves around his 14 point beat sheet that I have found incredibly helpful for structuring our story and which I will not reiterate here as it can be found in the pdf. Synder also talks about “the grid”, which is physical arrangement of all beats into three rows (three acts) on note cards.

Usually I work everything out digitally, but having just finished Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, in which Kleon advocates for the use of analog means while brainstorming, I decided to deviate from my traditional Trello, Evernote and Google Doc routine and get some notecards. Am I actually being more creative? I honestly don’t know, but it is immensely more satisfying to pin note cards to a board and rearrange them.

Until Next Week,

Sean