Story Nerd Episodes

January 26, 2023

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

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January 19, 2023

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

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January 4, 2023

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

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December 21, 2022

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

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December 14, 2022

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.

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November 30, 2022

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

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November 23, 2022

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

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November 16, 2022

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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October 26, 2022

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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