LB: New Writers Guide to Storytelling

by Larry Brody

I’m making this as brief as possible, which means I’m not explaining the “Whys” of these tips, other than with this preface:

This is the 21st Century. Storytelling, by which I mean plotting, ain’t what it used to be. The contemporary audience has seen and read and experienced at least as much as you have, which means MAKE SURE YOU KEEP EVERYTHING AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE SO YOU’RE NOT TELLING READERS/VIEWERS WHAT THEY ALREADY KNOW . 


Blasphemous, I know, but I also know a hell of a lot of editors and producers and executives and agents and what they say they’re looking for.

So, with that not-so-short-after-all intro done, here’s my versions of the steps in plotting fiction

  1. Start with the problem that’s making your characters suffer. (In other words, make sure the hurdles are already in place, with the characters leaping.) The easiest way is to make sure your protagonist is both the pursuer of their goal and the pursued object of someone or something else.
  2. Increase the difficulty and pain accompanying the problem. (AKA raise the hurdles higher.)
  3. Increase the rewards for success while also increasing the consequences of failure.
  4. Make sure the protagonist is constantly being tempted to betray themself and their beliefs and “allow” them to succumb even though you and they know it’s wrong.
  5. The story ends when the protagonist discovers the inner truth of their life and seizes upon it in order to make the sacrifices necessary to escape their pursuers and solve the problem. (Which means they destroy those damn hurdles…or at least finally leap over them!)

Bonus points for those who:


And by “you” I mean “ALL OF US.”

#tvwriting #screenwriting #writingtips #writerslife

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

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