Do you ever get stuck in developing a narrative? Once upon a time, I’d get stuck at the most unexpected stage of the story and then sit there tapping my teeth – it’s a thing – for hours. Imagine what my dentist thought.
Since this sort of thing happened as often as the postman visiting your mum, I decided to find a reliable framework to resolve me issue. Thus, these 9 points for forming a narrative. Don’t ask me where I found them, because I forgot.
The idea is to ask a question that is also the running theme for the story. Then you kind of answer that question in 9 stages or acts — similar to a Vaudeville show. Check this out:
What happens if we could change destiny?
And one man’s in charge of it
And he spends his time preventing murders
Now, there’s no murder
Until the day that man’s setup!
Now he’s forced to solve: Who set him up?
And he discovers it was the one man he could trust
And we learn – after he stops this man: humanity cannot have the power to change destiny
Because humanity would abuse that power
— Minority Report
You can apply this framework to other movies too — give it a go. I applied it to Tarkovsky
and learned a lot about how its narrative actually works within the film, which is incredibly visceral.
Now, I’ve used the framework over a dozen times and it’s given me some invaluable insight into crafting narrative. Remarkable!
You can even change things around. I won’t tell you how, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
Of course these 9 points wouldn’t work on every story — that’d be like having the Key to the Universe — Oh Master of the Universe, strike thy lightning upon our souls! But it does work for a lot of movies and shows too.
You’re thinking: At last! Well, once you try it, drop me a comment to let me know what you think. What did you change? What did you do different? Often the writing will reveal secrets of the story that you can use to enrich the work — Sensational!