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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

What's your story? You have one sentence to explain!

I once took a screenwriting class and I would come up with what I thought were fantastic ideas for films. When called on in class I would happily explain that there was this thing going on and that thing happening and this fun scene and then my characters would do this…

My professor would hold up his hand and ask, “But what is your story?”

If I couldn’t answer his question in under five minutes, he would dismiss me with a wave of his hand and tell me to get back to work.

Granted, Hollywood thinks in terms of simplicity but the point remains, your story should be something explained quickly. It’s the heart of the matter. It’s the point of everything. Your story is a road map to where your characters are going to travel.

For example…

To Kill a Mockingbird: You can’t understand another human being unless you walk in their shoes.

Moby Dick: Man vs. a beast of a whale

Harry Potter: Orphan finds out he’s a wizard and heads to Wizard School. Later, he realizes how his parents died, how he’s the chosen one and must fight the evil coming to harm the magical world.

My Viola Valentine paranormal mysteries: Hurricane Katrina gives Viola Valentine of New Orleans a chance to start a new life, but now the travel writer sees ghosts who have died by water — and mysteries to solve — everywhere she goes.

What’s your story?

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