Month: February 2015

The Units of Story: The Global Story

Story Grid

As per our Foolscap Global Story Grid, Global Story has the same five elements as each of its component parts—an inciting incident, progressive complications, crisis, climax and resolution. Ideally, you “the editor” should be able to pinpoint exactly what beats, scenes, sequences, acts, and subplots in your story combine to satisfy these requirements. For example,… Read more »

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The Units of Story: The Subplot

Story Grid

Subplot is the next level up from Act in the long form story. Subplots are the added attractions for a Story and are best used to amplify the theme/controlling idea more aggressively or to counterbalance the global story with irony. A quick example would be the love story in The Sound of Music between Liesl… Read more »

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The Units of Story: The Act

Story Grid

There is a song by the 1980s new wave band The Godfathers that I always remember when someone asks me how best to describe an Act. It is simply titled, Birth, School, Work, Death. The Act is a major life stage in a story. The Act could be a self-sustaining story in and of itself…. Read more »

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The Units of Story: The Sequence

Story Grid

Sequences give the reader a sense of “critical moments in life.” That is, they, like all the other units of story, have beginnings, middles and ends. To look at it another way, sequences are large set pieces in the global story journey.  Steven Pressfield has been writing about his method of dealing with sequences on… Read more »

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The Units of Story: The Scene

Story Grid

The scene is the basic building block of a Story. While the beat is the actor’s medium, and as such can be “saved” by a skilled actor, even Meryl Streep can’t save a poorly written scene. There is just no hiding for a writer when it comes to a scene. It either works or it… Read more »

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The Units of Story: The Beat

Story Grid

By popular demand, I’ll be going over the units of story in detail over the next several posts.  What’s important to remember is that these units have a Russian doll relationship. Beats create scenes which create sequences which create acts which create subplots which create a global story. Now before you lose your mind in… Read more »

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Commandment Number Five

Story Grid

The fifth and final element of story form is the least respected and often forgotten.  But it’s indispensable. The resolution of a beat, scene, sequence, act, subplot or global story is crucial for the reader or viewer to fully metabolize the story. Many writers dash these moments off in epilogues or one or two sentence… Read more »

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Commandment Number Four

Story Grid

You must have a climax in every unit of your Story.  Because the climax is the truth of character. It is the precise moment in your beat, scene, sequence, act, subplot and global story when your character acts on his/her crisis choice. And as we all know, choices and actions tell the truth about our… Read more »

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