Coming Monday – the deconstruction of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island – the book and the movie.
Refer to the past two Storyfix posts for more about this exciting exercise in understanding the role of structure, character, theme and concept in storytelling.
If you can’t read the book or see the movie before Monday (or before reading this series of posts), be sure to click HERE.
Because you can’t get anything out of a story deconstruction unless – and until – you know the ending.
Which is also true of writing a story that works as well as it possibly can. Until you know the ending, all you’re doing is nothing other than story planning.
I’ve been seeing movies. Two of them this week, in fact, that merit an enthusiastic mention.
Not just because they’re good, which we they are. They’re both better than good.
But because they are stellar examples of story structure as the framework for the exploration of great characters within conceptually-driven stories.
Movies that writers – including novelists – should see.
I’ve mentioned one of them before…
The Joneses, starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny.
It’s a killer “what if?”-driven concept… if you’re struggling with the understanding of the power of “what if”-driven storytelling, see this film.
Because it’s the concept here that drives everything.
I don’t want to tell you what the concept is, in this case, since the big reveal doesn’t happen until the first plot point arrives. The viewing experience is much more powerful, and illuminating, if you allow yourself to be surprised.
And like concept, if you struggle with wrapping your head around the mission of the first plot point, this is a clinic on that issue.
You can visit the official website for The Joneses, and see a preview, HERE.
The other movie that will get your writerly blood bubbling is called City Island.
I should mention that it’s only a coincidence that this title so close to Shutter Island.
Like The Joneses, this movie is also conceptually driven with a brilliant “what if?” scenario, but it’s a good bet that this particular writer began the creative process on the energy of an initial character idea.
Remember, we begin the story development process with only one of the four corners of story – concept, character, theme or (rarely) structure – and it becomes our job to render the other three in a way that makes sense, leveraging the energy and context of that initial corner.
City Island was written and directed by Raymond de Fellita, son of noted horror novelist Frank de Fellita (author of Audrey Rose and a bunch of other scary stuff).
His touch is both deft and subtle, yet clobbers you with an ending that recalls the emotional impact of Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption (one of my top five movies of all time).
You can visit the City island website, and see a preview, HERE.
For your consideration – if you’re interested in learning more about story structure prior to the beginning of the Shutter Island deconstruction, may I join the many readers who have recommended my ebook, Story Structure Demystified.
Click HERE to learn more.