What Is A Short Story? What is a Short Story?
Marion Zimmer Bradley (c) copyright 1996 by Marion Zimmer Bradley When I speak of a short story, I am referring to the commercial or category short story, not the New Yorker or "literary" short story. I am dealing with the techniques for writing and selling what is known as commercial fiction. I have long contended that anyone who can write a literate English sentence can learn to write and can make a modest living writing for and selling to these markets, but it is necessary to learn a few simple rules.
Virtually all category fiction -- whether science fiction, romance, suspense, fantasy, adventure, western or any other category -- follows a similar outline which for convenience is known as a formula. The average reader, however, does not read for literary reasons. So let us examine the elements of commercial fiction. Most short stories work on some variation of the following (so do most novels, but the novel works at a different speed): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Why 3 Act Will Kill Your Writing - Raindance. It has been estimated that at least 50,000 scripts are written every year.
Yet only a few hundred are bought and made. Why do so many writers fail? Clearly, there is a limit to how many scripts the business can support. But in the vast majority of cases, scripts do not sell because the writer has not written a good script. I have taught and worked with literally thousands of writers. Most writers have had no training at all when they try to write a script that will sell. When they do decide to get a little knowledge, most writers go out and buy a couple of books on screenwriting. Periodic Table of Storytelling. Hero's journey. "A Practical Guide to Joseph Cambell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Christopher Vogler © 1985 “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”
In the long run, one of the most influential books of the 20th century may turn out to be Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. The book and the ideas in it are having a major impact on writing and story-telling, but above all on movie-making. Filmmakers like John Boorman, George Miller, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Coppola owe their successes in part to the ageless patterns that Joseph Campbell identifies in the book. The ideas Campbell presents in this and other books are an excellent set of analytical tools. Freytag's Pyrmaid. Three-act structure. Three- act structure Plot Line Graph by Wendell Wellman The three-act structure is a model used in writing, including screenwriting, and in evaluating modern storytelling that divides a fictional narrative into three parts, often called the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.
Structure The second act, also referred to as "rising action", typically depicts the protagonist's attempt to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point, only to find him- or herself in ever worsening situations. Part of the reason protagonists seem unable to resolve their problems is because they do not yet have the skills to deal with the forces of antagonism that confront them. Interpretations In Writing Drama, French writer and director Yves Lavandier shows a slightly different approach. He maintains that every human action, whether fictitious or real, contains three logical parts: before the action, during the action, and after the action. See also References The Story Spine.pdf. Periodic Table of Storytelling. Monomyth. Joseph Campbell's monomyth, or the hero's journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world.
This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). Campbell, an enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. A chart outlining the Hero's Journey. Summary The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance.
To do this Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, plus classical and contemporaneous French works. He also analyzed a handful of non-French authors. In his introduction, Polti claims to be continuing the work of Carlo Gozzi, who also identified 36 situations. Publication history “Gozzi maintained that there can be but thirty-six tragic situations. This list was published in a book of the same name, which contains extended explanations and examples. The Seven Basic Plots. The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories is a 2004 book by Christopher Booker, a Jungian-influenced analysis of stories and their psychological meaning.
Booker worked on the book for 34 years.