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But and Therefore

Banes at 12:00AM, March 23, 2017

But and Therefore

I'm a fan of user-friendly, practical advice on things, especially writing. It's why I dig the Banes Method (it's not my method; it's just named after me).

Anyway, I came upon some dandy advice from Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame that struck me in its simplicity and uber-practicality.

They say that if you have a story outline with a bunch of scenes connected by the phrase “and then…”, you're in big trouble. You don't have a story. You have…well, a bunch of scenes.

The words that must be used to connect the beats of a story are “therefore” and “but”.

Something happens to a character.

THEREFORE, a character responds with an action.

BUT something blocks that action.

THEREFORE the character tries another thing.

“THEREFORE” gives you continuity of logic and a sense of reality and consequences.

“BUT” gives you - well, conflict!

Next time I outline a story (Lord willing it'll be sometime soon), this is something I'm gonna try!

I would add that the word “because” is a handy one, too. Not for between the scenes, but within the scenes. “Because” helps the logic and character motivation, another essential building block of story.

If you try this out, please let me know if it helps! I'll keep you posted when I get a chance to use it, too.



bravo1102 at 5:02PM, March 23, 2017

Active versus passive voice. Action flows from one therefore or but to the next as opposed to following one another like courses on a menu. Compliment and interact as opposed to just coming one after another. Like the sergeant said "Lead, follow or get out of the way." Funny how everything can go back to "Stuff my drill sergeant told me"

Gunwallace at 11:20AM, March 23, 2017

An appendix to the Banes Method. Love it!

cdmalcolm1 at 8:43AM, March 23, 2017

Gotta love the English language. I agree with Ozoneocean. It does sound a lot like code. BUT That is the beauty about the English language. "And then" could work for a series. We are not always subjected to stay in the box. A writing style is very much like Programming...lets see if the reader gets what the creator(s) are trying to say.

KimLuster at 5:16AM, March 23, 2017

Great stuff, again!! 'Because' is sort of the opposite end of the same pole as 'therefore'... "He did this therefore I did that" vs "I did that because he did this"... Similar to inductive vs deductive reasoning!

Ironscarf at 3:40AM, March 23, 2017

I like this approach but 'therefore and 'but' seem like an odd couple to me. I might go for 'therefore' and 'however', or maybe 'and so' and 'but' for less formal occasions.

ozoneocean at 2:22AM, March 23, 2017

Sounds like the way you write code for programming. You can have stuff that's non-interactive , like a text tutorial or something, but interactive stuff is where it gets interesting! That's when you have to think of alternatives and why certain things happen but not others etc. That's when code starts to come to life.

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