Story Nerd Episodes

May 31, 2023

There is so much storytelling goodness to be learned from The Godfather, it kinda boggles the mind. Even if you’re writing a light-hearted romcom, believe it or not, your novel/screenplay will benefit from the way Coppola and Puzzo approached the craft. The stakes start out high and get even higher. And when it comes to

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May 30, 2023

The biggest problem facing writers who are trying to understand theory and learn how stories work, is that there is no standard lexicon. This leads to no end of problems…and frankly, arguments. How do we deal with this lack of consensus? Tune in to find out.

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May 30, 2023

This may not be the worst movie ever made, but it’s certainly among them. The filmmakers have completely ignored storytelling basics and boy, does it ever show. It’s based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, so you’d think it would be brilliant, right? Wrong. Without the fundamentals in place this is nothing more than

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May 30, 2023

On this brand new season of the podcast Valerie and Melanie are diving deeply into EMPATHY and STAKES. How did the makers of The King’s Speech get us common folk to empathize with a king? How did they get an American audience to empathize with a British king when they fought a war to win

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May 19, 2023

The shape of this story (the film version, anyway) changes dramatically depending on who you think the protagonist is. It’s Jay Gatsby, right? Ah, maybe! Or the protagonist could be Nick Carraway! And exactly why are we still reading, watching and studying this story 100 years after it was written? In this week’s episode of

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May 19, 2023

Seriously, what the heck is a quasi antiplot story? It sounds pretty fringe; like some crazy, obscure little bit of story theory that writers will never, ever, need to know. Sure, story theorists can fill their boots with it but if 99% of audiences expect an archplot story, why should we bother with quasi antiplot

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May 19, 2023

As we saw in the Aliens episode, resonance is a powerful tool for anyone developing a series. But what happens when resonance is used ineffectively? In this episode, Melanie takes us on a deep dive into the Star Wars universe and explains why The Force Awakens did a face plant. (Because she’s a superfan, she

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May 19, 2023

If you’re writing a series (no matter what the genre), this is one episode you won’t want to miss. How did James Cameron use Resonance to create a sequel that viewers love? And, how does understanding a character’s arc help writers keep a story fresh from film to film, or book to book? Valerie and

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May 19, 2023

Melanie loves this film but it gives Valerie the creeps. They’ll never see eye-to-eye on this one, but thanks to story theory, their subjective opinions don’t get in the way of appreciating what this story has to offer. Guillermo del Toro has innovated the heck out of a courtship love story in a way that

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May 19, 2023

The marketing people at Lego are geniuses. In 2014 they released The Lego Movie, launching a lucrative movie franchise and driving sales of their product through the roof. The storytelling isn’t fancy, but it sure is solid. In this week’s episode Valerie and Melanie look at Lego Batman (2017) and how the company uses resonance

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March 6, 2023

We’ve all heard this advice from A-List authors…if we want to be better writers we have to read more. What they don’t tell us is that reading like a writer is an entirely different activity than reading like a reader. In this episode, Melanie explains her approach to reading actively, deeply, widely and consistently.

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