Process of writing a script with the Hollywood author John Truby

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Before writing a screenplay, John Truby defines the main elements of a good story in his book "The Anatomy of Story", the primary reference in this field. He regularly presents Masterclasses around the world. Scriptwriters, directors, distributors, publishers, writers, actors, technicians, advertisers, marketing managers, journalists, everyone comes listening to him ! Here are some tips and tricks provided by the master to write a plot.


  • Premise

How do you sum up the whole story into one sentence?


  • Seven critical steps of the narrative structure

Such key stages in the story's creation and the dramatic code conceal themselves underneath the surface. Truby reveals them. They result in stable and reliable foundations: weaknesses and needs, desire, foe, hero's strategy, final face-off, self-revelation, new equilibrium.


The seven critical steps of storytelling according to the Hollywood script doctor John Truby


  • Characters

Invent elaborate characters, link them together, and assign them a task concerning the hero(es). The most compelling character has to be the main one, i.e., at the center of the plot.


  • Theme and moral debate

What is the underlying theme in the idea of the narrative and the structure of your story? Does it include a moral point of view?

Assigning a moral need to the hero sophisticates his relationships with other characters and makes them more attractive. These decisions and actions have a direct impact on them. They can be an obstacle, a model, or even the source of this need.


  • Storytelling world

Imagine the hero's universe as an extension of the character.


  • Symbols

Highlight different aspects of the characters, the world of the story, and the plot.


  • Plot

Characters drive the plot. Establish a plan in which all elements are connected beneath the surface and lead to a surprising ending.


  • Weaving scenes

Last step before writing ! Do a list of every scene, every plot, and all themes knotting together to build the basis.


  • Construction and harmony between scenes and dialogues

Each scene supports the evolution of the hero. Truby explains that "Symphonic Dialogues" play several instruments and have different levels of depth at once.

The tricky point about writing dialogues is that they should not be redundant with the images ; they have to be natural, useful and to advance the plot.



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