Monday, July 02, 2007

Screenwriter Secrets of Effective Storytelling!
Part 1: The Language (continued)

Off the Beaten Path
Just one more example supporting the “Level III Diagnostic” storytelling problem I describe in my previous post. In "What do you do with your blog on the weekend,” Problogger states:

“The weekend is here and I’m looking forward to some fun. You see today is my Son’s first birthday party (his actual birthday is next Friday) and we’re getting together with family and friends to celebrate his first year…”

I do this all this time, and I hear others doing it too. Even Problogger, who has an awesome site, falls into the trap. He lets us know that today is his son’s first birthday (a very cool detail), then he backtracks to tell us his son’s actual birthday is next Friday. It of course matters to him, but it doesn’t matter to us. Repeating the information breaks the story. Providing more info on the birthday (even if it's just clarifying) starts us thinking that the story's going down a different path, even though it's not.

I have a friend who does this so often while he speaks, that he often forgets the the point of his story, since he’s wandered so far off the topic. I have to tell him “go back to the original subject of your story” (that is, if I remember what it was.)

Bottom line: leaving out some details, even if they further clarify or even reveal a truth, is sometimes OK to do.

If I'm guilty of it in this post, I apologize.

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