How to Write a Plot
Key Idea: The most important thing to remember when writing a screenplay is to make sure your story is interesting. It needs to have a point, a purpose, a moral, or a message. Your story needs to be about something more than just a series of events. It needs to be about something that will make the audience think, feel, or react in some way. The best way to keep your audience engaged is to make sure your story has a strong central conflict. Your central conflict should be something that is relatable to the human experience and that people can understand and empathize with. Your conflict should also be something that is unique. It should be something that sets your story apart from other stories. Your conflict should be something that is challenging and not easily resolved in order to make your story more suspenseful and exciting.
Summary: No one should doubt that every would-be motion picture writer has an idea in his head that he considers an original plot. Possibly you may have such a plot. But remember, a string of incidents or a mere narrative without the backbone of a motive power is not a ” world beater ” of a plot.
- The Three Parts of a Plot
- The Conflict in a Plot
- A plot should have a conflict, or problem, that the protagonist must solve.
- This conflict should be the driving force of the story, and should be interesting and suspenseful.
- The resolution of the conflict should be satisfying and logical.
- The Characters in a Plot
- A plot should have believable characters in order to be interesting.
- The characters in a plot should be relatable in order to be believable.
- A plot should have a clear motive in order to be interesting.
- The Theme of a Plot
- A plot should have a theme, or main idea, that is conveyed through the story.
- A plot should also have a strong motive power, or driving force, that propels the story forward.
How to Write an Interesting Story
Key Idea: There are no new plots.
Summary: It is not easy to come up with a completely new plot for a story. Most successful stories are based on old plots that have been given a new treatment. If you want to write a successful story, you need to find an old plot and make it your own.
- The Unimportance of New Plots
- It is hardly possible to come up with a completely new plot.
- The lack of new plots should not discourage you from writing a good story.
- The Success of Old Plots
- Every successful story is based on an old plot.
- The author has simply taken an old-time plot and by his excellent treatment given the world a seemingly new idea.
- The fact that new plots are scarce is no reason, however, for you to take a moss-covered theme and expect it to pass muster.
- The First Step: Finding Your Subject
- The first step in plot construction is finding a subject to write about.
- It is difficult to come up with new, original plots.
- Most successful stories are based on old plots that have been given new life by the author’s treatment.
- The Most Important Thing: Making Your Story Interesting
- Make your story interesting.
- Find the subject around which you wish to write your photoplay.
The Power of Inspiration
Key Idea: Inspiration is the most important factor in creating successful works of art because it is the source of original ideas.
Summary: Inspiration is the most natural source from which ideas spring. Inspiration for successful books, plays, and scenarios often comes when we least expect it, rather than at our bidding. Sometimes in the night when we lie awake, unable to court the blessings of Morpheus ; then again in the early morning when we awake and find the day is bright and full of promise, does this elusive spirit called inspiration seek us and give us that power the muses made famous.
- The Power of Inspiration
- Inspiration is the most natural source of ideas.
- Inspiration is the source of successful books, plays, and scenarios.
- The Limitations of Manufactured Plots
- A manufactured plot does not contain as much red blood as the thought that comes to you voluntarily.
- This inspiration, upon which successful books, plays, and scenarios have been written, does not come at our bidding, but rather when we least expect it.
- This elusive spirit called inspiration seek us and give us that power the muses made famous.
- The Elusive Spirit of Inspiration
- Inspiration often comes when we least expect it, such as in the middle of the night or early in the morning.
- This elusive spirit called inspiration can give us the power to create successful works of art.
How to Write a Successful Photoplay
Key Idea: Inspiration must be acted on immediately, and never lost.
Summary: If you have an idea for a photoplay, don’t wait to write it down. Inspiration is hard to come by, so when you have a good idea, make sure to write it down and save it. That way, you can come back to it later and develop it into a full photoplay.
- The Importance of Inspiration
- Inspiration is the key to writing a successful photoplay.
- Jot down every thought, and put it carefully away until you are ready to make use of it.
- Jotting Down Your Thoughts
- You must write down every thought that comes to you, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
- This will help you to remember the idea and to use it later on.
- Never Losing a Good Idea
- Always jot down your thoughts when inspiration hits in order to make use of them later.
- The creative element is the hardest to get, so give it time and attention.
- The Creative Element
- The creative element is the most important part of your photoplay.
- You must never lose a thought that has possibilities for building a photoplay.
The Importance of Inspiration
Key Idea: Inspiration is the most important factor in writing a novel because it is the source of all your ideas.
Summary: Inspiration is something that cannot be seen or touched, but it is real and it can be used to help create a story. Some people do not believe in inspiration, but for those of us who do, it is a very real thing.
- The Reality of Inspiration
- The Power of Creativity
- Inspiration is the source of all creativity.
- Inspiration is an intangible concept that cannot be measured or quantified.
- Inspiration is a real and absolute fact for those who believe in it.
- The Importance of Success
- Inspiration is the key to success in any field.
- Inspiration is a true and absolute fact.
- The Necessity of a Novel
- Inspiration is the most important factor in writing a novel.
- Inspiration is an uncertain and intangible concept.
Inspiration is something that is personal and unique to each individual.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Key Idea: The most important fact is the title of the book, play, or verse; this will help to turn our thoughts into a channel that is most fruitful.
Summary: The title of a book, play, or poem can suggest an idea for a story. Write down any titles that come to mind in a notebook, and when you’re ready to write, choose one as the basis for your story.
- “The Catcher in the Rye”: A Chapter about the Title
- A Chapter about the Author
- The author is J.D.
- The title of the book is The Catcher in the Rye.
- A Chapter about the Publication
- The book was published in 1951.
- It was written by a renowned author.
- It contains a wealth of information on writing scenarios.
- A Chapter about the Story
- The book is about a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield.
- The book is set in New York City.
The Titanic: One of the Most Famous Shipwrecks in History
Key Idea: A newspaper article can suggest an idea for a photoplay.
Summary: The newspaper is a good source of ideas for movies. Every day, there are stories that could be used as the basis for a movie, for example the story of the Titanic sinking.
- The Titanic: A Shipwreck That Shocked the World
- The Titanic was a ship that sunk in 1912 after hitting an iceberg.
- The Titanic is considered one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history.
- Carrying Over 2,000 Lives
- The Titanic was a large ship carrying over 2,000 passengers and crew.
- The ship hit an iceberg and sank, resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives.
- The story of the Titanic disaster has been used as the basis for numerous films and TV shows.
- Only 705 Survive
- The Titanic was lost at sea, resulting in the death of over 1,500 people.
- Only 705 people survived the disaster.
- The wreck of the Titanic was an expensive and difficult production to recreate.
- One of the Most Famous Shipwrecks
- The Titanic was a large passenger ship that sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- The sinking of the Titanic resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 people.
How to Be More Creative
Key Idea: You must be able to distill the one most important fact from the information you have. The one most important fact in the case of the man with the umbrella is that he is afraid of rain, and in the case of the woman in the restaurant is that she is lonely. The one most important fact in the case of the child in the store is that he is bored, and in the case of the woman on the train is that she is tired. The most important fact in each of these cases is the emotion that the person is feeling.
Summary: If you want to come up with ideas for stories, one good place to look is in places where people congregate. You might see something interesting happen on an elevator or in a waiting room that could give you an idea for a story.
- The Importance of Ideas
- Ideas can come from anywhere, including from people in everyday situations.
- Something as simple as an incident on a train or in a waiting room can give rise to an idea for a story.
- By combining different elements, it is possible to create a complete plot for a story from these small pieces of inspiration.
- Looking for Embryo Material
- Look for incidents that could be used as the basis for a story.
- These incidents can be found in places where people congregate.
- The incidents may be mere snippets, but they can be used to develop a full plot.
- The Potential of Every Place
- You can get ideas from people in any place.
- Ideas can come from any type of person.
- Ideas can come from any type of incident.
- The Possibilities of Life
- Look for ideas in unexpected places, like waiting rooms or lobbies.
- Be open to the possibilities that these ideas present.
How to Write a Great Plot
Key Idea: The single most important fact is that the story must have a reason why.
Summary: A plot is a series of events that are connected to each other and gradually revealed. These events must have a purpose or reason behind them in order for the plot to be effective.
- The Importance of a Plot
- A plot must have a motive, or a reason, behind it.
- A plot is a series of incidents, which are gradually unfolded.
- A plot may be unfolded by unexpected means.
- The Necessity of a Motive
- A mere narrative or commonplace incident is not enough to build a scenario on.
- There must be a reason, or motive, for the events that occur in a story.
- Without a motive, a story will lack the necessary coherence to keep readers engaged.
- The Reason Why
- A plot must have a purpose or goal.
- A plot must have a series of connected events.
- A plot must have a reason for each event.
- In Simple Language
- There must be a reason why your scenario unfolds the way it does.
- Your scenario must be built upon a series of connected incidents.
The True Story of Mary Jane and John Alden
Key Idea: The story must have a problem or obstacle for the main character to overcome.
Summary: The story is about a country girl named Mary Jane who meets a boy named John Alden and they fall in love. They get married and live happily ever after.
- The Country Lass Meets John Alden
- The Wedding
- Mary Jane and John Alden meet and fall in love.
- There are no complications or obstacles in their relationship – they are a perfect match.
- Happily Ever After
- There is no plot or climax to the story.
- John and Mary Jane marry and live happily ever after.
- The story is lacking in motivation.
- Pretty and Romantic
- The story is very pretty and romantic.
- There is no plot, no climax, and no motive for your story.
Mary Jane is a country lass who meets John Alden and falls in love.
The Stranger Who Took Mary Jane’s Money
Key Idea: Mary Jane falls for a stranger and forgets about John, even though she was previously in love with him, which ultimately leads to the stranger robbing her father’s store.
Summary: The story is about a country girl named Mary Jane who falls for a handsome stranger and forgets about her long-time love John. John eventually finds out that the stranger has robbed Mary’s father and is taking her away to the next town. He fights the stranger and rescues Mary.
- Forgotten Love
- Mary Jane is in love with John but forgets him when a stranger comes to town.
- The stranger coaxes Mary to go with him to the city.
- The Stranger’s Robbery
- John’s Accusation
- John finds the stranger and Mary driving furiously for the next town.
- He accuses the stranger of stealing the money.
- The Stranger’s Fight
- The stranger and John have a fight.
- John finds the old man’s papers and money.
The stranger robs Mary’s father’s store and takes all the money.
The True Story of the Outlaw and the Lady
Key Idea: Mary’s father is the sheriff and John is a thief.
Summary: John and Mary are in love, but her father does not approve of John because he is poor. One night, John’s house is robbed and Mary’s father and the sheriff come to arrest John. However, Mary knows that John is innocent and she begs her father to let him go. John and Mary marry and live happily ever after.
- The Robbery
- The story is set in the early 1800s in the American West.
- A young woman named Mary is robbed by a handsome stranger.
- Mary’s father is the sheriff, and she begs her husband-to-be, John, to take her home.
- The Rescue
- Mary is robbed by a band of outlaws.
- The outlaws are led by a handsome stranger.
- John, Mary’s father, shields her by declaring to her father and the sheriff that she heard the robbers and went in search of the money.
- The Stranger
- The handsome stranger helps Mary find the stolen money.
- The stranger is later revealed to be the leader of the robbers.
- The Wedding
- Mary and the stranger marry.
- They live happily ever after.
The Mysterious Murder of the Old Man
Key Idea: The handsome stranger is the murderer.
Summary: John’s father is accused of murdering the old man during a business transaction gone wrong. John goes in search of the real murderer, the handsome stranger, and rescues Mary from his clutches. At the trial, it is revealed that the handsome stranger is the real murderer and John’s father is cleared of all charges. Mary and John then get married.
- John’s father is accused of murdering the old man.
- John goes in search of the handsome stranger to bring him to justice.
- He finds the handsome stranger, who is also Mary’s kidnapper.
- John brings the stranger to justice, clearing his father’s name.
- Mary’s father is murdered by the handsome stranger.
- John’s father is cleared of the murder charge.
At the trial, proof could be offered that it was the handsome stranger who murdered Mary’s father.
Mary and John get married.
The Climax and Resolution of a Motion Picture Story
Key Idea: The climax is the big scene where all the loose threads are taken up and woven together into the big moment.
Summary: The climax of a story is the most exciting part, where everything comes together and is resolved. To write a good climax, start by brainstorming ideas and incidents that could lead up to it. Then, write a draft of the climax scene, making sure to include all the elements you’ve been building up to.
- The Climax
- The Beginning and the End
- All Scenes Lead to the Climax
- All scenes in a motion picture story lead up to the climax.
- All scenes have an indirect bearing upon the climax.
- The Resolution
- The resolution is the final outcome of the story, in which all the threads are drawn together and the loose ends are tied up.
- The resolution is the climax of the story, in which all the loose threads are taken up and woven together into the big moment.
The motion picture story has a beginning and an ending.
The Most Important Part of Your Story
Key Idea: The climax is the most important moment in your story. It is the moment when the conflict is resolved and the audience learns the outcome of the story. The climax is the turning point of the story, the moment when the hero or heroine overcomes the villain or the problem; it is the high point of the action and the tension, and the moment when the audience is most interested in what is happening. The climax is the moment when the story comes to a head and the audience is on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next. So, when you are planning your story, keep the climax in mind and make sure that each scene is leading up to it.
Summary: An anticlimax is a disappointing or unimportant ending to a story or event. It is often seen as an inartistic way to end a story. However, there are rare occasions when an anticlimax can be pleasing or helpful in ending a story.
- The Climax
- It is the point at which the tension and conflict of the story reach their peak.
- The climax is the turning point of the story, after which the resolution is reached.
- The Heroine Tumbles Into the Hero’s Arms
- The Lost Baby Is Restored to His Waiting Mother
- The climax is the most important part of the story.
- The climax should be given with the thought always in your mind of the climax that is to follow.
- The climax should be given with the thought always in your mind of the climax that is to follow.
- Each Individual Scene
- Always keep the climax of your story in mind when writing individual scenes.
- Each scene should build towards the climax, making it more impactful.
The climax is the part of the story where the audience is most anticipating a big, smashing scene.
The Importance of the Plot in a Story
Key Idea: The single most important fact is that the plot is the story. The story is the plot.
Summary: The main plot of a story is the most important part, and deviating from it can introduce counterplots, which can be confusing and destroy the story. It is usually best to stick to the main plot.
- The Importance of Plot
- The plot is the most important part of a story.
- A plot should be carefully planned and structured.
- Counterplots can disrupt the continuity of a story.
- The Danger of Counterplots
- Counterplots can destroy a story by introducing additional threads that have no connection with the main theme.
- Counterplots should only be used if absolutely necessary, and even then should be handled carefully.
- Keeping the Main Plot in Focus
- The main plot should be the focus of the story.
- Counterplots can be a menace to continuity.
- It is important to keep the main plot in focus.
- Avoiding Side Plots
- Side plots can be confusing for both the author and the audience.
- Side plots can destroy the continuity of the story.
The Plot: The Most Important Part of a Story
Key Idea: The plot is the most important part of a story.
Summary: It is what gives the story its structure and its purpose. Without a plot, a story is just a collection of events.
- The Importance of Plot
- The plot is what determines the events that will take place in a story.
- The plot is what drives the story forward and gives it purpose.
- The Plot as Seed
- The plot is the seed of the story.
- The plot is the most important element of the story.
- The plot is the foundation of the story.
- The Plot as Salesman
- The Plot as Interest
- The plot is what makes a story interesting.
- The plot is what gives a story its structure.
How to Write a Photoplay
Key Idea: The plot is the most important part of a photoplay.
Summary: The plot of a short story is not as important as the theme of a photoplay. A short story can be improved with beautiful descriptions, interesting characters, and clever dialogue, but a photoplay must have a strong plot to be interesting.
- The Importance of Plot in a Photoplay
- The Need for a Clear, Concise Theme in a Photoplay
- How a Short Story Can Make Up for a Lack of Plot
- The photoplay is dependent upon its plot for interest.
- A clear, concise theme is the most essential part of a picture play.
- The Most Important Part of a Photoplay
- The plot of a photoplay is the most important part.
- The plot must be clear and concise in order to be effective.
The plot of a short story can be covered by other elements, such as character development and dialogue.
A photoplay needs a clear, concise theme to be interesting.
The Importance of a Plot
Key Idea: A plot is essential to a drama, but not to a comedy.
Summary: A good plot is just as important for a comedy as it is for a drama.
- The Importance of Plot
- A plot is essential to both dramas and comedies.
- A plot helps to build a story and create suspense or humor.
- A plot is necessary to create a successful film.
- The Purpose of Plot
- A plot gives a story purpose and structure.
- A plot helps to create conflict and tension, which are essential for a good story.
- A plot can also be used to create humor in a story.
- The Structure of Plot
- A plot must have a conflict in order to be interesting and engaging.
- A plot must have a resolution in order to provide satisfaction to the audience.
- A plot must be carefully constructed in order to avoid becoming a mere vehicle for jokes.
- The Interest and Believability of Plot
- A plot must be interesting in order to keep the audience engaged.
- A plot must be believable in order to suspend disbelief and allow the audience to immerse themselves in the story.
The Importance of a Good Plot in a Comedy
Key Idea: The comedy must have at least a semblance of a plot.
Summary: The comedy that is a series of chases, with the colored woman and the big fat policeman bringing up the rear, is by no means all the motive power you need. Disabuse your mind of this fallacy as quickly as possible, because that chase has to have a reason why, just the same as the little story of Mary, the village singer, who married steady-going John. There must be a reason for that chase. Just a zigzagging procession of people running around in a circle contains no humor unless you have a story to back up your fun.
- The Importance of a Plot in Comedy
- The comedy must have a plot.
- The plot must be funny.
- The comedy must be entertaining.
- The Comedy Chase: Not Just for Fun
- The Reason Why: The Importance of a Backstory
- The comedy must have at least a semblance of a plot.
- The comedy that is a series of chases, with the colored woman and the big fat policeman bringing up the rear, is by no means all the motive power you need.
- Disabuse your mind of this fallacy as quickly as possible, because that chase has to have a reason why, just the same as the little story of Mary, the village singer, who married steady-going John.
- The Zigzag Chase: When Humor Needs a Story
- There must be a reason for the chase; it can’t just be a random series of events.
- The chase must be funny, and this is usually achieved by having a story to support it.
How to Write a Comedy: The Basics
Key Idea: A comedy is made up of complications, and that the success of the story depends on the clever arrangement of these complications.
Summary: There is no humor in seeing two characters do something funny unless there is a reason for their actions.
- The Importance of Complications in a Comedy
- A comedy is made up of complications.
- The purpose of these complications is to make the story funny.
- Developing the Complications Along with the Plot
- The complications in a comedy must be developed along with the plot in order to be effective.
- Without a proper plot, a comedy will not be funny.
- The success of a comedy depends on the clever arrangement of its plot and its unexpected finish.
- The Mission of the Complications
- A comedy’s mission is to make the audience laugh.
- This is accomplished by cleverly arranging plot and unexpected finishes.
- Complications are developed along with the plot and are a part of it.
- Why a Plotless Comedy is Not Funny
A comedy needs a clever plot and unexpected ending to be successful.
The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
Key Idea: The single most important fact is the human touch. The story with the human touch, be it comedy or drama, is the one that pleases the public. Besides that, human touch is the backbone of your story.
Summary: Comedian Lew Fields believes that successful comedies must have a plot with a human touch in order to connect with audiences. He believes that slapstick comedies without a story are “stupid.”
- The Importance of a Plot
- The Power of Heart Interest
- The Significance of a Motive
- The story must have a real motive.
- The story must have a connecting link.
- The Necessity of Plain English
- The story must have a plot.
- The story must have a bit of heart interest and a real motive.
The story must be able to connect with the audience.
How to Choose a Subject for Your Story
Key Idea: The choice of a subject is crucial in determining the success of a film.
Summary: When choosing a subject for your photoplay, it is important to consider what will make a successful story. A good story should be easy to follow with no confusing scenes or unexplained situations. Problem plays with an uncertain ending are not suitable for photoplays.
- The Importance of Choosing the Right Subject
- Problem Plays Are Not Suitable for Photoplays
- Problem plays with an indefinite finish are never suitable for photoplays.
- Screen productions should stand out in bas relief with the clearness of a finely carved cameo.
- The Importance of Clarity in Action
- Clearness of action is essential in getting your story over.
- Confusing scenes and unexplainable situations can ruin a story.
- Make sure your story is easy to follow and understand.
- The Uncertainty of Popular Favor
- Photoplays should have a clear and definite ending in order to be successful.
- Problem plays with an uncertain ending are not suitable for adaptation to the screen.
The choice of a subject is important for the success of a story.
The Unhappy Ending: Why Most Companies Prefer Stories That End In The Approved Manner
Key Idea: The most important thing in writing a photoplay is to have a happy ending.
Summary: It is generally preferable for stories to have happy endings, as this leaves audiences with a more positive impression. Tragic endings are often less well-received, and should be avoided unless the story warrants it. Additionally, avoid stories with gruesome or otherwise unpleasant subjects.
- Unhappy Endings and the Audience
- Companies and Their Approved Endings
- Most companies prefer stories that end happily.
- An unhappy ending leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouths of the audience.
- The average “movie” audience would much rather have the heroine and her lover live happily ever after.
- The Average Movie Audience’s Preference
- The average “movie” audience prefers stories with a happy ending.
- Tragic stories with harrowing scenes appeal to only a small number of people.
- It is important to avoid gruesome subjects.
- Tragic Stories and Their Morbid Appeal
- Tragic stories with harrowing scenes are not appealing to most audiences.
- Such stories are only appealing to those who are morbidly inclined.
Most of the companies prefer stories that end in the approved manner.
The Four Most Important Facts and Figures in Plain English
Key Idea: The single most important factor in a story is the ending. The ending is what the reader remembers and what will determine whether or not they enjoyed the story. It is important to make sure that the ending is satisfying and appropriate for the story.
Summary: You should write what you know, especially when it comes to endings. Sometimes, in order to please your audience, you may be tempted to add a conventional, happy ending to your story even if it does not fit. However, it is important to remember that you are the author and you have the right to choose your own ending. If you feel that adding a happy ending would spoil your story, then don’t do it. It is better to write an ending that is true to your story, even if it isn’t what people are expecting.
- The Importance of Speaking
- Always try to end your story on a positive note.
- However, don’t sacrifice your story in order to do so.
- “Laugh and the world laughs with you” is a popular saying for a reason.
- The Power of Reading
- The average person speaks about 16,000 words per day.
- This is equivalent to about four hours of talking.
- The majority of these words are spoken in casual conversation.
- The Significance of Writing
- The average person reads about 200 words per minute.
- This means that a typical reader can finish a short story in about 10 minutes.
- However, some stories may take longer to read, depending on their length and complexity.
- The Impact of Words
- The average person writes about 100 words per minute.
- You should try to give your story a happy ending whenever possible.
How to Write a Successful Photoplay
Key Idea: The most important thing in a story is to make the audience care about the characters.
Summary: If you want your film to be successful, it’s important to make the audience feel sympathetic towards your main character. Make sure the story is interesting enough to keep viewers engaged, and make it clear who the villain is.
- Establishing the Sympathy of the Audience
- Throwing the Interest to the Hero
- Establish the sympathy of your audience for your leading character.
- Throw the interest to him so that he can receive the popular approval.
- Making the Villain Wearing Black Robes
- The villain should wear black robes as often as possible to make his character more recognizable.
- The villain should be gradually developed throughout the story so that he is easily recognizable.
- The villain should be a refined gentleman who is just as dangerous as the old-time novel villain.
- Recognizing Both the Hero and the Villain in the Plot
Recognition by the audience is key for both characters.
Why We Love Emotional Stories
Key Idea: Human interest is more entertaining than the improbable.
Summary: If you want to be a successful photoplay writer, you should try to write stories that will touch the hearts of the people who see them. Write your stories with care and feeling, so that they will be emotionally moving.
- Emotional Appeal
- A story that appeals to the emotions is more entertaining than one that is improbable.
- A story that is realistic and touches the heart is more entertaining than one that is wildly improbable.
- A story that brings a quick rush of tears and makes those who see it choke with emotion is more entertaining than one that is improbable.
- A Delicate Plot
- A plot should be delicate and full of feeling in order to be successful.
- Human interest is key in creating a successful plot.
- Emotion should be realistically portrayed in a plot.
- Choking with Emotion
- Making the Viewer Cry
- A story should be able to make the viewer cry.
- Work out your plot with such delicacy of feeling that it can only be likened to the music that comes from a carefully tuned musical instrument.
An appeal that touches the heart and is realistic is much more entertaining than the wildly improbable tale.
How to Write a Great Story
Key Idea: A story must be simple. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It must be about something.
Summary: Psychological plays, stories of occult science or religious discussions are seldom screen-able, unless the master hand is present to make them adaptable. It requires unusual skill and knowledge to take a complex story and treat it in a manner that will make a satisfactory photoplay. So, until you have passed beyond the amateur stage, be content with the simpler methods. If you wish to write a simple little tale that contains more of a heart interest than a plot, often the introduction of a child will help your scenario. The Vitagraph ” Sonny Jim ” series are never rich in plot, but the cunning Bobby Connelly, who is Sonny Jim, makes the stories popular.
- The Three Parts of a Story
- A story should have a beginning, middle, and end.
- A story should be interesting and have a point.
- A story should be well-written and have good grammar.
- The Conflict and Resolution
- A story should have a conflict in order to be interesting.
- A story should have a resolution in order to be satisfying.
- A story should have both a conflict and a resolution in order to be successful.
- Characters the Audience Can Relate To
- A story should have characters that the audience can relate to.
- A story should have a plot that is simple and easy to follow.
- A story should have a heart-warming or emotional element to make it enjoyable.
- A story should be entertaining.
- A story should have a strong plot.
How to Create Suspense in Your Story
Key Idea: Suspense is a vital element to the success of a photoplay.
Summary: Every great story, play, or photoplay must have suspense — the intense moment, when the outcome is uncertain, when the unreal plays upon our emotions with the strength of the real.
- The Importance of Suspense
- What is Suspense?
- The unreal plays upon our emotions with the strength of the real is called suspense.
- The importance of the humbler things in life is called suspense.
- The Role of Suspense in a Photoplay
- The importance of suspense in a story, play, or photoplay.
- The intense moment when the outcome is uncertain.
- The strength of the unreal playing upon our emotions.
- How to Create Suspense
- Suspense is created by the element of uncertainty.
- Suspense is a vital element to the success of our photoplay.
The art of suspense in filmmaking
Key Idea: Suspense is an essential element of the dramatic photoplay, but it must be used carefully so as not to overwhelm the audience.
Summary: The art of suspense is important in constructing a photoplay plot. To keep the audience guessing and waiting for the next development is a fine art. Suspense is an essential sensation to the dramatic photoplay when not overdone. It requires careful planning. Each incident must be logical, a consistent step to the next scene, and a careful preparation of earlier action is necessary to fulfill the expectation that has been deliberately fostered.
- The Importance of Suspense in Photoplay Plotting
- Suspense is an essential sensation to the dramatic photoplay when not overdone.
- It requires careful planning.
- The Essentiality of Suspense in Dramatic Photoplays
- The Planning of Suspense
- Suspense is an essential element of the dramatic photoplay.
- It requires careful planning and each incident must be logical.
- Suspense must be carefully fostered in order to keep the audience guessing.
- The Logic of Suspense
- Each incident in the plot must be logical and lead consistently to the next scene.
- Careful preparation of earlier action is necessary to fulfill the expectation of suspense that has been deliberately created.
The Girl Who Was Betrothed to a Soldier
Key Idea: Suspense is created by not knowing what is going to happen.
Summary: A girl is betrothed to a soldier, but a false friend loves her and tells her the soldier has died. The girl agrees to marry the false friend, but the soldier is actually still alive and tries to get to her. The story is suspenseful because we do not know if the soldier will make it in time.
- The Girl’s Betrothal
- The False Friend’s Deception
- The false friend loves the girl and carries the report of the soldier’s death to her.
- The girl is betrothed to the soldier and the false friend tries to coax her into marrying him instead.
- The soldier is sick in a hospital in a distant country and the wedding day is set.
- The Wedding Day
- The wedding day is set.
- The soldier gets out of bed and makes an attempt to get to his sweetheart.
- The wedding festivities go on.
- The Soldier’s Journey
- The soldier is very sick, but he gets out of bed and tries to get to his sweetheart.
- The soldier is trying to stop his sweetheart’s wedding to another man.