Story Science Vs. Story Intuition

July 1, 2018

I just finished reading Robert Mckee's Story, a book I've been pridefully (and naively) avoiding for years. The book was so helpful that I read it twice back-to-back, and I promise I'm not being paid to say that. So why did I avoid the damn thing for so long? 


Part of it is that I don't want to get too detailed in my understanding of story mechanics. Too analytical. I can use my computer without understanding where all the 0 and 1s are being funneled. I don't want writing principles to drown out my innate storytelling intuition. I can tell a story at the dinner table without knowing exactly what type of reversal I'm employing in the first sequence of the second act. In fact, thinking about that sort of thing is paralyzing. I was worried Mckee's Story would paralyze my writing. 


On top of that, I didn't want to sound like everyone else. If we're reading the same manual like a herd of sheep, aren't we telling the same packaged stories? 


It's more helpful to think of the book as a car manual. When your car breaks down, and you want to fix it yourself, you need to understand its mechanics. There will be times when your screenplay draft isn't working, and you'll need to understand its parts in detail to fix it. It's easy to skip over the screenplay fixing stage when you're busy romanticizing the creative process. That was me! 



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