How To Write a Story
With a brief concept in hand it was time to do some homework and find out how to evolve this idea into a story that would be worth viewing.
When I watch a film I look for a selection of points to determine whether I feel it’s a great movie or not. It’s been a list that i’ve adapted over the years but i’m pretty firm on it these days. It reads as follows:
- Car Chase.
- A Worthy Plot Line.
As you can see a whole lot of effort went into this list – but seriously, that’s what I look for.
There are many things that annoy me about films too. The majority of the time I let these go if the film covers the 5 items listed above. They read as follows.
- I hate the idea of henchmen. How can it be possible for one person to get shot at by 30 others and not die… seriously. Henchmen are people too and why shouldn’t they be as well trained as the main character in a story. Also, why is it not a big deal when henchman 76 is caught up in the cross fire. I loved Austin Powers for bringing the viewers attention to the deaths and consequences of the henchmen.
- I hate it when kids out smart adults. This just isn’t right. Adults are faster, smarter and bigger. They don’t cry when they fall over and graze their knee. Get those meddling kids out of my movie!!
- No such thing as bad guys. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a born bad guy. There needs to be a motive that gives them reason to be doing the things they’re doing, and it needs to be much more significant than ‘daddy didn’t love me’ or ‘I had a bad day’.
- Unworthy opponents. This works along side henchmen really. I hate it when a small team can out manoeuvre (love that word and finally learned how to spell it) a large force without getting scratched.
I say, “If you don’t think you’ll win, don’t compete”, so in my perfect film/story, anyone can die, anyone can succeed. So my story needs to cover all these bases.
So that’s my specification, next was to find out what the world requires.
I have a couple of friends who studied and work within the film industry and after a short separate discussions with them, they both led me towards this concept called Voglers Wheel, or the Heros Journey. In short it’s a generic path that all heros/main characters seem to take during the proceedings of a film. I watched numerous films and found that this was indeed the case. For example, every film i’ve seen recently has the main character refuse the task that’s set out for them prior to them eventually going for it after being convinced by some power. It’s worth looking into.
Lastly, and I was dead against this – but it does open the story up to wider audiences. Dee demanded that there should be some romance in the story. I took that advice along with the rest of it and looked at my story.
It needed slightly re-modelling and took around a week but afterwards I really felt like i’d hit the jackpot. The story although still just a framework at this stage, was a goer.