Story Structure, Logic, and the Meaning of Life

Story Structure and Logic

If you’re lucky at some point in your life you’ll come to a complete dead-end. I confess, I’m obsessed with the role of failure in the trajectories of fictional protagonists. But it’s not just me—the earliest Greek philosophers taught the advantages of adversity. If you’re lucky you’ll come to a crossroads and see that the […]

Do the World a Favour

PHOOLAN the movie

Victim of gang rape as a young woman, Phoolan did not remain a victim. She fought back. This important film needs your help! It’s the ultimate sexual harassment story—PHOOLAN: the Bandit Queen of India. Phoolan went on a vengeful rampage before becoming a member of parliament. Beloved friends of mine, hammering away on this documentary […]

Try this Story Fix — Before You even Start

Blog post

You’ve invested time and money studying “story.” (You can’t imagine how much I’ve spent!) After reading all those writing manuals, we are “story structure” engineers. We could be teaching story structure. In fact, I do! And yet— Where’s the prize-winning novel? Where’s my Oscar for Best Screenplay? I’m sitting here at my desk, staring at […]

Leonard Cohen’s Song to Donald Trump

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What a week it was—still is! I’m still crying inside. Yes, Leonard Cohen sent me soaring into mourning. Gorging on his music these past few days, I realized how he helped me appreciate the value of struggle. His struggle was an art form. I saw Cohen perform on an intimate stage at the University of […]

All Stories Are Escape Stories

Great Escape

“Every story is an escape story.” I’ve taped that slogan to the wall of my work station. It clarifies my character’s trajectory. It helps my story “come true” because it acknowledges a fact of our human condition: We are all escaping something. That notion hijacked my brain after a decade of professionally assessing and writing […]

Deep Travel: Have you ever gone too far?

Deep Travel

From Africa I flew to India. I would return home through Asia, circumnavigate the globe, prove the world was round, see it with my own two eyes. Bombay. Wow! The smells. The crush of humanity! A beggar with no arms or legs. My god, he had no face, either. His begging bowl—if you can picture […]

How Good Stories End

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[Previously titled: “And Love Has its Way with the World”] I’m not saying that The Two Faces of January is a great movie. But the Viggo Mortensen character serves to show how many good stories end. It goes like this… And love has its way with the world. You don’t hear it, no one says […]

Fiction, Freedom and the Meaning of Life

Zorba text

“The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis I know writers who would argue, “That’s just a man talking.” Seriously, you’d spend $12 to watch a movie called The Valley of the Happy Free People? No one has made such a movie and for good reason. Audiences […]

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