The order I’m writing these things in might seem a little random, but I’m trying to work in the order in which I think about story. Once I’ve got my research and my notes in order, and I’ve done a little brainstorming, I will turn to the character journey. And so that’s where we are now.
As I've said before, and as I expect to say many more times before we're done with all this, story comes from character. And if story comes from character, then so structure must come from character too. You're not mapping out "plot", which as we said before, is a dirty word. You are mapping a character journey. The journey gives you your story, and the map of that journey is your structure.
And so what is story? A character wants something. That character is prevented from getting it by a series of obstacles. Overcoming those obstacles is the character's journey, and thus our story.
Or is it? Well, kind of. But say our character wants to find a lost treasure. Why do they want to find it? Because they're greedy? OK, fine. So they have to follow a series of clues into unfamiliar territory, maybe locate a map. And then it turns out there are other people after this treasure, and they’re willing to kill for it, so our hero has to battle them too. And we end up in a race to the treasure and, at the last moment, it looks like our hero has lost. But then they pull something out of the bag with seconds to spare and they prevail and now they have the treasure.
So that's the shape of something. It's very rough, but it's a shape. How does it feel? Kind of hollow, right? I mean, it's recognisable. Attach a big star to it and Netflix will probably give you a hundred million dollars to go make it. But it's not satisfying. And the reason it's not satisfying is not just because it's thin, but because it only deals with what the character WANTS and not with what the character NEEDS.
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