For Christmas I received a book that I’ve heard a lot about over the years but have never read. I’m sure I’ll be pulling a few quotes from Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc by Dara Marks in 2011, but here’s one for 2010.
“The single most important connection authors make with their audience is forged through the protagonist. In effect, the audience enters the story through the protagonist; as the protagonist encounters conflict, hardship, and obstacles, the audience encounters those same problems right along with him or her. This is how we become emerged in a story.”
And since Christmas was yesterday, here are a couple fitting example that’s Marks goes on to discuss in her book.
“In the beginning of both It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, the audience knows that George Bailey’s life is already valuable and that Scrooge would be happier if he were kinder. But the characters don’t know this yet because they are both stuck in old patterns of behavior that distort their perceptions. The drama, therefore, is designed around knocking down those old barriers.”
“Theme, character, and transformational arc often get convoluted and confused in the complicated process of script development. Dara’s Inside Story takes the highly complex craft of screenwriting and breaks it down into the simple art of good storytelling.”
Bella, Bobby Jones: Stroke of a Genius
Creative Screenwriting magazine and UCLA Professor Richard Walter have also spoken favorably of Dara’s book. (BTW—I recently did an interview with Richard Walter and will start the new year off with several posts based on that interview.)