If you are a visual person like myself, please enjoy this cheat sheet I made based on the insightful book on story structure by Larry Brooks.
The origin story of the phrase “the hero’s journey” comes from Joseph Campbell’s work and his book “A Hero with a Thousand Faces”. Campbell took a look at myths and stories across many different cultures and throughout history for similarities. It brings forward questions like: What makes a story a story? and What makes stories so important to humans? Campbell has been a conscious influence on everything from “Star Wars” to “Community”, and a subconscious influence on countless others.
His work is basically, exactly my jam. These are the questions I ponder and struggle with and argue about with friends and loved ones.
His work is used as a kind of writer’s 101. When you’re stuck, or the story isn’t working, or you don’t know what should happen next, check your story against the framework of “The Hero’s Journey”.
The thing is, I worry that some heroes are left out of this model. Like maybe the heroes from my stories? Continue reading
Where I try to pin down what exactly everyone means by “story”.
The past few weeks I have been doing a self imposed crash course in story structure. I have read Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, and I’ve been desperate for a way to apply all that I’ve leaned. Continue reading
You know when you escape a painful conversation, and you turn to your co-worker/ lover / cat and say with an eye roll- “That person was trying to tell me their life story!”
It is understood that life stories are boring. Continue reading
Persuasion by Jane Austen is a delight. I pick it apart and put it back together three ways.
I try to answer the question: why do I re-read?
There are many reasons to include characters in a story, they add a lot! Character can be the gateway for the audience, they can help define a world, and they can create conflict.
When I worked on TV shows, the phrase ‘character driven’ was synonymous with high art. I love characters! Sometimes literally.
But can there be too much of the “good thing” of character? For me, the answer is yes.
What franchise from my 90’s childhood would make the best live action dystopian future noir reboot? I give you… Disney’s Tailspin.
I know. I would totally watch it too.
I talk about an obscure part of storytelling that makes me oh-so-happy: old dudes foreshadowing how tough it will be for the hero.