Story Nerd Episodes
What on earth can novelists learn from a musical? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. Cinematically, this is a beautiful film, there’s oodles of subtext, and yes, the music is lovely. The story itself? Well, it’s kinda thin. And this is the problem many novelists have … we spend too much time on
Valerie and Melanie are both happily surprised (relieved?) to discover that there’s much more to this movie than meets the eye. How did Harold Remis hold his audience’s attention when the same day, and many of the same activities, repeat over and over and over again? It’s quite a neat trick and is yet one
In this episode, Melanie’s study of subtext has revealed something odd (and slightly uncomfortable). It seems that, according to Skyfall at least, M stands for mother. But why should Judi Dench’s M be a maternal figure for James Bond? Valerie’s study of Act 2 uncovers a striking similarity to last week’s film: Back to the
Back to the Future has plot holes. There, we said it. Does it matter? Nope. We’ve watched this film dozens (hundreds?) of times and only saw the holes when we analyzed it for this episode. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that. This is a great example of the three-act structure and the hero’s
The Australian film, Storm Boy, uses a very complex story structure. It’s nonlinear, with a framing story and flashbacks…definitely not for the faint of heart. So, if you’re using even one of these techniques in your novel or screenplay, this episode is for you. Oh, and what does all this have to do with Hugh
There are plenty of great reasons to study this film and chief among them is that it’s a terrific example of why the antagonist in a story must have a point; a very good point that is hard to refute. What does your villain believe and can your reader agree, at least in part, with
Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller and his novel, Coraline, has been a favourite with young readers for two decades. The film version is a dazzling display of creativity from the stop-motion animation to the A-List voice talent, but does it eclipse or enhance Gaiman’s original concept? What can novelists learn from the filmmakers’ approach
We’re kicking off a brand new season with a holiday classic. Home Alone might feature a 10-year-old in the starring role, but the writing in this film is anything but child’s play. If you’re the kind of writer who likes to bend the rules, this is the episode for you.
To wrap up Season 3, we’re doing a rundown of everything we’ve learned in the past ten episodes about the beginnings and endings of stories (and how they work as a unit), and sequences. Be sure to bookmark this episode so you can return to it whenever you need a quick refresher!
This is one strange movie. While we can understand it from an intellectual level, and we can deconstruct it (and yes, it won lots of awards), Lost in Translation didn’t evoke any emotion from us (except maybe, annoyance). That’s a big, big problem. Why is that the case? Where did this film go wrong, and
There are a handful of stories that theorists use as great examples of the craft, and Toy Story is one of them. (Chinatown is another, but sheesh, enough already!) Yes, the animation was groundbreaking for its day but that’s not what makes this film special. All the fancy tech in the world (or even the
It’s not uncommon for a subplot, or secondary character, to take over a story – especially when a writer is still learning the ropes. So, how do you keep a subplot in check and what do you do if it starts taking over? In this week’s episode, Valerie and Melanie discuss just that.
When fans talk about this movie, they usually mention the music. But an amazing soundtrack can’t save a story that doesn’t work. More importantly, for our purposes, music is outside the purview of the writer. So the question remains. Is the writing of this film solid, or does it rely on hits from yesteryear to
This week, Melanie and Valerie fell into a discussion about whether Good Will Hunting is a miniplot story, or an archplot story with a couple of subplots. What’s the difference? Why does it matter? And how can not knowing put your work-in-progress at risk? Tune in to find out.
Filmmakers have special effects, costuming, casting and music to help them tell their stories. As novelists, we’ve got 26 characters, a handful of punctuation, and our readers’ imaginations. That’s it. So how can we put our readers’ imaginations to work for us? Tune in to this week’s episode to find out. Happy Hallowe’en!
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