So, remember in the movie Adaptation when one of the two Nicholas Cage characters went to the writing seminar hosted by the guy who cursed a lot and then the movie descended into a baffling chase in the swamp that, while kind of funny, left you with a confused feeling since the movie kind of had you hooked and then all of a sudden people started dying? Well, the guy hosting the writer’s seminar is Robert McKee — well, it wasn’t actually Robert McKee, it was an actor playing Robert McKee. As I’m sure you know, Robert McKee is an actual person who hosts actual screenplay seminars and who wrote an actual book called STORY, also featured in the movie (the book plays itself). I’m not sure whether Mr. McKee actually curses.
STORY is all about the elements of story — how stories are driven by character desires, through conflict, through points of no return, and other elements that have been around for thousands of years. McKee was talking about how to write a screenplay, and a lot of the more specific advice doesn’t apply to novel writing, but his elucidation of conflict, the importance of crafting an interesting inciting incident and his dissection of climax apply equally to novels.
So if you want to brush up on your story elements, pick up a copy of STORY, and continue to hone your craft.
Lastly, you can save your anxious e-mails, I did indeed hear about Spencer from The Hills issuing the ultimate, blindsiding insult to Lauren, telling Us Magazine, “Lauren couldn’t even get into clubs before she met us!”
Wow. Just, wow.