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.
Banes at 12:00AM, March 23, 2017
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