Importance Of Breaking Down A Story Before Writing It

by Ines de los Santos | June 7th, 2020

Before generating a story from an idea, it’s very important to keep in mind what a story is made up of. A story isn’t just something that happens to someone. In its most basic form, a story is how what happens to someone affects that being, who is trying to approach what turns out to be a difficult goal, and how he or she can change throughout the path. its breakdown looks like this:

1) “What happens is” the plot
2) “Someone” is the protagonist or lead character
3) The “goal” is what’s known as the story question
4) “How he or she changes” is what the story is actually about

Contrary to what most writers might think, a story is not about the plot or what happens. It’s about the changes and the attempts at changes. This turns it into an internal journey.

The stories should use these elements to create a story that appears to be a reality to the audience but feeling sharper, clearer, and far more interesting than life itself. A storyline should stick to the task at hand, which is the attempt of a character to achieve something that will hopefully change either him or her in a severe manner. This should lead writers to the next question, which is, ‘What does the protagonist have to confront to solve the problem set up for him or her?’ These are called obstacles. Every character must confront an obstacle course throughout a story. This will force them to act and their actions will reveal its true nature. This true nature will lead the audience to an empathetic response, which means they are invested.

One theory on how to generate storyline is that action triggers emotion and then emotion triggers action. Who cares about a major event like a bomb going off unless we don’t see how this all impacts a specific character and how can we invest in what a character is feeling if we are not privy to emotional events that cause these feelings.

Action shows us the story and emotion pushes it forward.

Here is a podcasts that talks about the same:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Ines de los Santos

Creating a story - Ines

Dominican Producer, Screenwriter, and journalist, with a Masters degree in Screenwriting.


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