Story & Drama

There are many elements and structural archetypes to storytelling.  Knowing these elements is elementary.  Applying them to your story is somewhere between art and math logic.

For any budding story writer, I advocate a systematic approach to writing a dramatic script or screenplay efficiently and effectively.
1. Logline – Include (a) what differentiates your character or makes him/her interesting, (b) an obstacle – it should be clear how this is related to the character (c) world/environment – again this is related to the kind of obstacles/solutions available and provides the context of the story, a specific time and place.  The actual theme or moral of the story may or may not be included at this stage.  See these examples.

2. Beat Sheet – 9-10 events that tell the story.   It spells out the narrative structure.   At this stage, you can quickly insert, delete or move these around to find alternative structures.  Pay close attention to the resolution, and how it connects with the exposition.  Check the escalation in the middle. If possible, it would be worthwhile getting a fellow writer’s critique.

3. The script drafting stage is the most complex, which is why the logline and beats must work well for reference.  This is where we pull out all the stops – all tools on the table. Describe mise-en-scene for location. Work as much character development into the mise-en-scene  as possible.  Plot devices.  Elements to define and reinforce the genre.

4. Dialogue.   Revise the dialogue to suit the specific characters.  Drama can be enriched with subtext.