Five Ways to Hone Your Focus in the New Year

‘Tis the season for tips lists, n’est pas? At the heart of what story consultants do are the abilities to take in, distill, and communicate. Here are five tasty treats to feed your hungry consultant’s (and writer’s!) brain during the coming year.

Hone Your Story Consulting Skills in 2009: Create a short checklist of the items you notice first when reading a new draft. This will require honest attention to your own process as you sit with a new piece. Each person’s talent walks a …

Indie Scripts vs. Studio Scripts

Ok. Maybe this post isn’t exactly about the differences between independent feature scripts and studio scripts, per se, but it is about the plain divide that I’ve personally observed on a regular basis when reading screenplays of all kinds.

I recently made the comment that it is consistently remarkable that a script that’s in the development or production stream at a studio …

Special Guest: Author Blake Snyder on The Midpoint

Our very special guest, Blake Snyder, author of the bestselling (and indispensable) Save The Cat! series of books on screenwriting, offers THE STORY SPOT’s readers guidance on that notoriously difficult pillar of any story: The Midpoint. (We’ve added the product links below to help you find your way.)

Midpoint – The Key to Cracking Any Story

In both my Save the Cat! books and also my …

Creating a Formidable Antagonist

As important to creating compelling stories as it is to focus on the protagonist, it’s equally (possibly even more important) to create formidable conflict for the hero. Without challenges to overcome–challenges worthy of our heroine’s mettle–an audience may quickly become disinterested. I mean, wouldn’t you?

After all, stories represent pivotal points in people’s lives, times of great personal change and/or accomplishment. Our attention tends to breeze by the moments of our lives spent washing dishes or putting gas in the car and, instead, …

Is Your Hero Sympathetic and What the Heck Does That Mean?

Before we dig into this one, let’s brush up on a couple of concepts that are essential to great storytelling: Sympathy: sharing the feelings or interests of another (“I feel the same!”) Empathy: vicariously experiencing the feelings or thoughts of another (“I understand how you feel.”)

These two sides of the same coin are what enables storytellers to create and recreate stories that resonate with their audiences. These are what allows our work to transcend the state of being …