How to Tell YOUR Story YOUR Way
I'm not going to teach you 'how to write'. You already know how to write, and my first advice is to avoid anybody that tries to tell you 'how to write'. A formulaic approach is bending your art out of shape from the first moment. It is far better if your story comes from your heart so you keep ownership and your story keeps its integrity. Every famous writer I've met has that self-confidence and told their own story their way. You must do the same. Be true to yourself. It's the only way to get success.
What am I for, then?! To show you how ALL stories get their power. I'm going to show you the unavoidable principles that lie beneath every story. What I call: The Primary Colours of Story. This is about mastering your craft, not learning a formula.
Most writers have a story or two in them that they can write from instinct and passion. But if you want a career, you can't write that way forever. You have to master the craft of story and that is a simple matter of understanding The Primary Colours.
You keep ownership of your story. Your story retains its integrity. You gain the knowledge of where your story has power. And when your instincts tell you things aren't right, you can see why, you can problem solve quickly and concisely, turning weaker chapters into new strengths. Here's a big one for later: When the business people come along, they often ask you to make changes, and because you want the deal, you do as they ask. One of the most valuable aspects of mastering your craft is that you will be able to rebuff changes you don't agree with by using story theory to justify and defend the way it is.
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The Substance of Story
Knowledge gaps and subtext. The basis of all stories in all genres, media and formats since the dawn of time.
They say 'knowledge is power', and it could not be more true. We are weak animals. We rely on our knowledge to survive... and knowledge is a function of narrative. Anything you know only makes sense - only has meaning - in a narrative context. When there are gaps in a narrative, the evolutionary self is aroused. A knowledge gap is a trigger. A sign of risk. Danger. Excitement. Opportunity.
This is the basic tool of the writer. You leave a gap and the reader is fundamentally aroused. The author encodes knowledge gaps into the narration. The reader decodes by projecting knowledge from their own experience into the gaps. It's as simple and as wonderful as that. The knowledge that goes into the gap is called Subtext.
In the first series of videos, using entertaining examples from famous stories, short films and clips, we get to understand linguistics and how stories trigger the mental reflexes we use to make memories. You will understand in simple, intuitive terms why stories exist and how they get their power to grip and engage a human mind.
If you happen to be in advertising or politics you will also learn how stories can be crafted in slightly more insidious ways to plant memories (whether we want them or not...).
The image below is a busy image, but that is ALL of the knowledge gaps writers use in creating every story ever made. That is ALL you have to learn.
Read The Primary Colours of Story. Watch the video seminars. Become a master of story.
Common Story Dynamics
Next we look at the knowledge gap characteristics of the most common story dynamics. Conflict, Morality, The Major Dramatic Arc, Comedy, Aristotle's Principles and much more. All become clear and usable through clips, examples and interactive exercises.
Take a look at the image below. Did you just turn this static picture into a narrative progression? You just filled in the gaps (with subtext) and created a story in your mind.
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Characters are central to everything in story. You HAVE to understand character to understand story. This set of videos is a deep-dive into all aspects of understanding character. Motivation, protagonism, antagonism, morality, meaningful conflict, inner and outer arcs, character growth and the six questions you should ask of each of your characters.
We also find out how it is that plot and character... follow me carefully now... are one and the same thing... Once you understand that, your story takes on a whole new dimension.
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Ultimate Power - The Storification Dynamic
The author frames and orientates the audience, the characters interact in real-time in their story world, the receiver interprets the narrative, fills the gaps with subtext and creates meaning in mind through storification.
Storification is the secret. It sounds complicated, but you will get it immediately... because you do it all the time in your everyday life. And by using classic stories, short films and lots of well-known story examples you will fully understand how it works - both in your mind and from there on the mind of your reader. From here we start to think about using this ultimate power dynamic to make a story development process based on genuine knowledge of where the power in any particular story lies.
Note how this differs from traditional story theory. Instead of talking about inciting incidents and turning points and spirit guides in order that you can force your story into a preset structure, we are recognising that the power of a story lies in what your content means to the receiver.
Story is NOT about structure. Story is NOT about formula. Story is all about the psychology in the conversation between an author and a receiver. The work the receiver has to do to build your story for themselves in mind. That is a story's real powerbase... and it is crafted into place by the skill of the author. That's YOU.
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The Story Development Process
My seminars are not all theory. Following conversations with some very famous names in story, I developed my formal work into a set of tools and methods for writers. Names like novelist, Lee Child (Jack Reacher books); Theatre legend Willy Russell (Blood Brothers; Shirley Valentine...); Actor Mark Williams (the Harry Potter films; Shakespeare in Love...); TV comedy writer, John Sullivan (Only Fools and Horses); Hollywood film writer/producer, Bob Gale (Back to the Future trilogy), pictured below; oh, and Managing Director of Summersdale publishing Stewart Ferris.
So, not only is my knowledge gap theory the most advanced understanding of story in the world today, it is also proven in story development in the real world. Money where mouth is, right?! You can follow the documented creation of my film story, Bella, in which I take you on the full story development process, from the first seed of the idea to the final glorious production. You will see the original idea, the development of the step outline, the final script coming to life. You will gain EXCLUSIVE access to the finished film itself and you will get a FREE book containing the step outline and developers' notes.
I will be doing the same thing for further projects, including writing a novel online and developing a feature film, entitled Mayakin, from first principles to a London Premiere on the silver screen. You will get to ride along the whole way and you may even be able to contribute or win a prize, such as to be an extra in the film or attend the premiere. Exciting stuff, right?!
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Wearing the Salesman's Hat
You are on Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram. Do they bring you sales? Profile? Anything?! Nope.
Sure, you blogged for a while, but even though you got some decent numbers showing up there... nothing much seems to come of it.
You have got a website... It doesn't do much for you though, right?
Why does none of this convert into anything useful?!
It's hard. I get it. It all does nothing, you don't want to do it anyway, so what's the point?! You didn't go into writing to be in sales. But you know you must do something.
The problems is, we artists don't like or understand marketing. We hate to be 'sold to' so why would be ever want to become the guy doing the selling?
I'm going to teach you marketing in a way that is fascinating. That makes sense. That works. That you can work with.
I've created methods for you to market yourself effectively, with great impact, for minimal effort, and using something you do love doing. Story.
In these sessions, we will use our new superpower - storytelling - and our knowledge of where the power of a story lies, to create powerful and effective marketing capability in the way you package and sell yourself and your product.
You. Are turning pro.
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We're in This Together
There will be opportunities to get involved in real-time sessions of various types; such as:
Each month you will have the opportunity to join me on a live Q&A to discuss all things story and writing. I look forward to getting to know you and answering any questions you have.
There will be giveaways and competitions with prizes including seats at a premiere, visits to a film set, free books and resources, a copyrighting service and much more.
I look forward to welcoming you to my inner circle, and to developing your career together.
let's get you and your stories on to that red carpet.