I’ve been asked to adapt my new writing system The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting for a grade school audience and thus The Four Magic Questions of Storytelling is on its way.
Because of this, I’ve spent the past week listening to storytellers tell their favorite stories to get a feel for the structure and rhythm. I’m happy to report that the best ones all fit The Four Magic Questions like a glove, proving my theory that a good story is a good story no matter how it’s framed.
Consider the story below, as told by writer/comedian Thomas J. Kelly. I have included the answers to this particular story’s Four Magic Questions below.
What is your character’s dream? To make mom cry.
What is your character’s nightmare? Mom dismisses the gift and doesn’t cry.
Who or what would your character “die” for? Make a plate of the family decorating the tree.
Does your character realize the dream? No. But he embarks on a new adventure of making and remaking the plate every year.
As an exercise:
Think of your own story. Does it follow The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting? If not, which answer to which question is lacking? What part of your story needs “punching” up?