Story Nerd Episodes
This movie is so light and joyful that it’s easy to dismiss it as fluff, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pretty Woman is a masterclass in the fundamentals of storytelling. The plot isn’t fancy (it isn’t even original), but it’s rock solid and the presentation of the characters is spot on. Yes,
Nanowrimo starts tomorrow and if you’re going to win, you’ve got to have a strategy. It’s no small task to write an entire draft of a novel in thirty days! Luckily, in this bonus episode Valerie is here with three proven strategies that to help you do just that. You don’t need to follow all
By popular request! So many of you have messaged Valerie about this movie, that she’s finally decided to tackle it head on. All the questions you’ve sent in boil down to one thing…you didn’t like the movie, but you can’t put your finger on why. In this bonus episode, Valerie shares her insights. Given the
Anyone writing historical fiction needs to pay particular attention to how they build the world for the reader/viewer. In this week’s episode, Melanie explains how to construct a fictional world around three main setting types. It’s fascinating stuff! And Valerie explores what happens when the most interesting character in the story is NOT the protagonist.
It’s one thing to write a dramatic character, but what if you want to write a comedic one? Do the same storytelling principles apply, or not? And what about the setting? It’s yet another story set in New York so how did the writers distinguish it from the NYC we saw in FATAL ATTRACTION and
Ok, so basically, this movie is a bunch of action scenes strung together with expository dialogue. It’s heavy-handed with theme (dare we say didactic?) and is bizarre even by antiplot standards. But, it’s kind of an interesting film to study for worldbuilding all the same. (Oh, and in this episode there’s an unintended cameo by
Hooboy, this movie gets better with age. Why? Because when we watch it through the lens of 2023 it has much more depth and nuance. Glenn Close’s character (Alex) is supposed to be the villain, but is she really? If you want to create a multi-dimensional antagonist who drives the plot and raises the stakes,
This is an episode you’re going to want to bookmark because Melanie is offering up oodles of info about how to create a fictional world your readers will love. Yes, District 9 is science fiction, but the principles apply to all genres and all world types; contemporary, realistic, historical, fantasy…you name it. And Valerie continues
Because the novel is so funny and easy to read, and because the film is a romcom, it’s easy to dismiss Bridget Jones’s Diary as a simple story that Helen Fielding simply dashed off on a weekend. But nothing could be further from the truth. Even though it’s a lighthearted story, Bridget is still a
Here’s an episode that will help you improve your line writing. Yes, Melanie is focusing on the poetic devices of metaphor, simile, and allegory, but they also apply to prose. So if you want to crank your writing up a notch, this one’s for you.
Very few movies make an adult afraid of what’s hiding under her bed, but this is one of them…and it isn’t even a horror movie. That’s the power of effective world-building! Even though this movie is set in NYC, it’s a version of the city that’s specific to the protagonist. How is the world of
It’s a brand new season and that means brand new topics. For the next ten weeks, Valerie will study character development and Melanie will study world-building. These massive topics go hand-in-hand because every protagonist is a product of his/her environment. This is a season you don’t want to miss!
This might be one of Agatha Christie’s best known mysteries, but does it work for a modern audience? This week, Valerie and Melanie analyze Sir Kenneth Branagh’s version of Christie’s classic tale, and discuss just how far into a story the inciting incident can be. And don’t miss Melanie’s super sleuth skills in action as
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
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.
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