What’s the big catastrophe? Two days in the world of story design

The building blocks of great story writing – how the 4 Cs could change the way you write...

By: Clare Howdle,   1 minute


One of the great things about Feeding is that we get to spend time learning about new ways of thinking and writing that could enhance how we work. It was with this guiding principle that I attended the recently run Script Factory story design course to learn about what it takes to create a narrative that captivates.

We’ve got a couple of projects in the pipeline that I had in mind when I signed up, but really it was an insatiable love of film analysis, wordcraft and make believe that had my heart racing as I stepped inside the Soho studio for two days of intense study, debate and watching.

Although most of the other attendees were aspiring screenwriters or script editors and the course content pivoted on analysing a handful of relatively recent cinematic offerings (Let The Right One In, Lars and The Real Girl and Shifty and more), this course wasn’t about how to make a film. Or even how to write one.

We were learning how to build a story – what essential elements every story should have to hold a reader, viewer or listener’s attention, elements that transcend disciplines and when done right, elicit an authentic emotional response and truly connect.

With the mantra ‘audience is key’ drilled into us from the introduction we looked at defining a story’s universal conflict, how to frame a story, how and why to construct a story world, what each character must bring to a story and how to borrow from different genres to add meaning, purpose and readability to our writing.

It was eye-opening stuff that wasn’t just applicable to the story design work we do at Stranger Collective. The focus on audience and need to construct stories that connect emotionally – as well as the techniques through which to do this – filter down into every word we write. I haven’t been able to shut up about it since I came back and am already putting it into action.

It’ll be interesting to see how the projects we’re working over the next few months benefit directly, and indirectly, from those two days learnings to design stories. I wonder if you’ll be able to spot them?



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