Story Structure 101 – The Index Card Method
Lately I’m being asked to teach writing workshops. A lot. Although I’ve done a few 3 and 5 day workshops, and I’ve got a month-long online workshop coming up in February, a lot of them are basically me trying to teach screenwriting techniques to novelists in an hour.
I know, it’s crazy, right? – what can you possibly teach anyone about anything in an hour?
Well, I can’t teach screenwriting or anything else in an hour, but I’ve found I can teach people how to start to teach THEMSELVES screenwriting techniques in an hour. (And what I’m really teaching is story structure, and secretly I’m really teaching it to help novelists use screenwriting techniques to improve their own books, because as I’ve said about a million times, and explained here, if you’re not willing to commit to an actual career as a screen and/or TV writer, or have a source of independent financing for your movie, then it’s a waste of your time to write a script, except as a learning experience. Write a book instead.)
To teach yourself story structure, you start by making a list of 10 movies and books in the genre you’re writing in and/or that you feel are similar in structure to the story you want to write. From this list you are going to develop your own personalized story structure workbook.