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Advice on story structure

Advice from storytellers on structure.

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  • starky sapling style avatar for user zoey.brake
    i wrote a story it was called novie
    its about a picture frame that lives in this world of magic where items come to life and a house that filled with magic even tho nothing in the house is alive. the picture frame has no picture so he try's to find a picture that would match him. he finds a pretty picture of a heart and he feel in love with the picture of the heart but she on the 4th flour of the house and he was on the bottom every flour was a challenging his love for her (omg this is so cheesy dis hearing it now) okie dookie you can build the rest of the story on your own my is way cheesy if i told the rest
    (13 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user supergirl78.dg
      I'm sure you can make it good, if you try! That actually sounds like a sweet story. :)
      The story i'm writing, at first it sounds like the same story you've seen a hundred times.
      A girl travels to a magical land where she meets fairies and wizards and her and her new magical friends go on an adventure to stop the bad guy.
      but i'm going to make the characters more interesting.
      Have you ever seen a vulgar fairy? Me neither. That's why i'm writing about one. :P
      I also want to write a really good female villain.
      (16 votes)
  • male robot johnny style avatar for user Ally Coach
    Okay, so at what I'm hearing is that I should sit and watch a bunch of movies? XD!
    I would love that!
    (4 votes)
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  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Michael Mansfield(DeltaProgramming)
    what if you'r writing a book and not making a movie?
    (5 votes)
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  • leafers sapling style avatar for user shawn
    Transcript correction at

    It should read "raze" not "raise".
    (1 vote)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Metal-matician
    Are there any other examples of act structures, or is it only three acts? If so, which ones are there and can you give a specific example?
    (2 votes)
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  • duskpin seedling style avatar for user SmudgeDraws
    I have an idea that I want to do something with, (the one that I've been working on throughout these lessons,) but I'm not completely sure that I have the dedication to complete it from start to finish. I've tried writing stories before (none of them with a complete plot) but it's never quite worked out and I end up dropping them, so I guess I might be discouraged. Anyways, my question is "is it possible for me to build a motivation for continuing the story as I make it or is that occurrence very unlikely?"
    (2 votes)
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  • hopper happy style avatar for user Hendrico Janse van Vuuren
    I have this psychological obsession with working on cars, restoring classic cars to their former glory, so would it be fine if I wrote a story where the protagonist aspires to do something similar, but their need is that they have to work with others to attain their dream?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user student 1
    Do the three acts of a story/movie also apply on a Tv show? And also, what if I want to make something like the MCU? Would it be okay to use this structure for the films or series I want to make?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Nicolás Muñoz
    I get the idea of the acts and the beats, but I have some troubles with feeling the holes between situations, how to get from this to that. Did you have any suggestion?
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Waxillium Ladrian
    This might be an unrelated question, but I am writing a novel and I am confused.
    What is the difference between a prelude and a prologue? I read the Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and it has a prelude separate from a prologue, though I did not get the difference.
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript

- Best advice I have in regards to structuring your story is work backwards, know where you want it to end. Work backwards, and then you'll know how you need to set it up. - It's very important to expose yourself to as many ideas as possible. Books can be a treasure trove for great stories. Reading is the foundation for storytelling. It's always a great idea to pick up a book and find a new story. - It's good to study structure, it's good to watch a wide variety of films so that you have some foundation and some understanding of how this would typically go. But then it's up to you to invent the new way. Some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, you know I think of Stanley Kubrick, for example, his movies are very tightly ideologically structured, but they're not, some of them are anti-narrative sometimes. They're not narrative or he applies narrative judiciously and he uses narrative as a tool to get you from point A to point B, but narrative isn't his focus, it's these larger ideological feelings that he has. - You just have to think about, what is very very important to me? And I'll give a very brief personal story. I became a father late in life. I have two young daughters. And so I realized that I have to be a good dad, kind of in a hurry, I don't have a lot of time. So that's on my mind a lot, so at home I'm working on a story that, well hopefully it's funny, it's a little science-fictiony, but I'm working on a story about parents who try to raise their kids really well in a hurry. - In my life the things that I've done that have worked out the best, are the things that I've cared the most about and I'm willing to invest the most in and the things that don't feel like work, and the things that allow me to grow because I've pushed myself further in their pursuit. - Just jump in, do the best you can, commit, put something out, finish something, and then just do it again. - It is really hard to admit that it didn't work, but you have to be willing to come in with a wrecking ball and raze it to the ground and rebuild it, and you learned along the way, so it will get better each time you're willing to do that. But you have to be willing to tear it down and try again. You have to fail and get up again. In development, we always draw the emotional arc on the wall, we actually have these painted walls that make them whiteboards. And you can just sit in your chair, roll up to the wall and draw a big arc and then delineate different points on the arc of what's happening for your character emotionally. That gives it a lot of shape. - It's so important to live in the world, live life, discover things, try things, meet new people, try whatever you want. The world is wide open and that is where our stories come from.