Story structure and analysis for writers and screenwriters | Story24 story circle and story analysis
I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd.

Pulp Fiction

Gather around, kids, and I'll tell you a tale of what it was like to see the movie that changed everything on its opening weekend — going in cold with little idea what it was about and no idea what I was in for.

It was the fall of 1994. I was deep into my own private post-college Gen X slacker wasteland, trying to figure out what to do with a never-quite-finished degree in English. I had spent a year wandering Europe, then another year writing a novel that nobody wanted. I took a job at a book store that went out of business shortly after I started, and then another at a record store that did the same.

If you're all right, then say something.

The internet wasn't much, and what it was wasn't pretty. There was no streaming, no YouTube, no Rotten Tomatoes. The closest you could get to a spoiler was digging deep in an AOL chat room. My small-town newspaper published at most three movie reviews per week — usually syndicated from Roger Ebert — and if more than three movies opened that weekend, you took your chances. I was a regular at my local indie arthouse cinema, but if Reservoir Dogs had played there, I must have missed it — which is all a long way around to saying that Pulp Fiction seemed to come out of nowhere.

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Write with me.

Hi friends. Long time, no post. I’m proud of what I’ve created here at Story24, but I've been so busy with the rest of my life that I've probably only averaged about one new story a year since the site's debut. This place has been a labor of love and neglect.

So this morning I had an idea: Would you like to write with me?

I mean, don't everybody jump up at once. It's not like I can pay you. But you'll get a byline and a link back to your own site if you've got one.

Learn Something New, Share What You Know.

If you're interested, send me a message and I'll get you the details of what I would need from you. But here are the highlights:

  • Write about any movie, any TV episode, even a book or short story.
  • Supply me with a detailed breakdown of the plot, which I will use to create a story circle graphic.
  • You can use whatever system you like to help explain the plot structure (three acts, hero's journey, Dan Harmon, etc.).
  • Write an article that examines the plot in some way. Tell us where it went right, where it went wrong, what you loved, what you hated. It's up to you.
  • I'll supply the graphics, but you're welcome to contribute or make suggestions.

If you're interested, use the contact form to let me know what you'd like to write about. I'll be in touch with more detailed instructions. Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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Moonrise Kingdom

There's no story if there isn't some conflict. The memorable things are usually not how pulled together everybody is. I think everybody feels lonely and trapped sometimes. I would think it's more or less the norm.

—Wes Anderson

Even smart kids stick their fingers in electrical sockets sometimes.

There's this thing about Wes Anderson's movies. They often seem to be set in a world that's at least a step or two removed from ordinary reality—with heightened artifice, sometimes stagey dialogue, fanciful "facts," even stop-motion crayon ponyfish—but they can be as hard-hitting with the emotional truths of their characters as any more naturalistic film,

Anderson's formalist whimsy is an acquired taste for some people, and that's fine. I'm a big proponent of liking what you like and not judging other people's tastes. I do find, though, that many critiques of his movies are disingenuous at best, and often based on suppositions that simply aren't true when you take a closer look at the films.

And when it comes to criticizing Moonrise Kingdom?*

I'd be careful if I were you. One of these days, somebody's gonna get pushed too far.

Moonrise Kingdom is a delight. It's the story of first love between two troubled kids, of grand gestures to break free of a world that seems to be against them, and of the adult ensemble that fears for their future and does their best to guide them in spite of—or more likely because of—their own many failings.

The basic outline is this: Set in the fall of 1965 (and flashing back to the summer of the preceding year) Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop meet and decide to go on the run together, alarming the adults of their small island community. There's a search involving a posse of Khaki Scouts, a capture, an escape, and a showdown featuring a couple of lightning strikes. There's also a pair of lefty scissors. Here's the whole Moonrise Kingdom story circle:

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New Year, New Post

when harry met sally new years party

Welcome to 2022. I'm sure there's enough being said on that, so I'll take a pass on the commentary.

But I do want to pop my head up for a few minutes for some quick site announcements. Yes, Story24 is alive and well, fully vaxxed and ready for ... I don't know, what rhymes with vaxxed? I'm a screenwriter, not a poet.

Anyway, the announcements
  • Yesterday I finally made a contact form on the Contact page instead of referring you all to Instagram, where your DMs tended to go missing for months before I discovered them.
  • Also yesterday, I updated the Resources page. It's no longer just a single link to the Criterion channel. Now it's a big list of books and other screenwriting resources that you might find helpful, along with brief comments about how helpful I found them to be for me. I'll continue to update the page as other things come to mind, so give it a look and let me know what I'm missing.
  • A new story circle post is on the way, I promise. Keep your eye on these pages or sign up for the email list (right-hand column under the poll) to be notified when it's out. And yes, by overwhelming request, it is going to be Moonrise Kingdom. What kind of bird are you?

I've got projects, so that's it for now. But you've all got my best wishes for the new year. Let's all stay healthy and do some great work and make it so much better than the last few, okay?

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Recent Posts

Story Circle Notebooks
. .

These notebooks contain story circle templates and blank dot-grid pages that are great for breaking down your own creations or analyzing the structure of existing films and stories. Purchase from Amazon:

Help Me Choose

What movie should I write about next? I have a few ideas, but I‘m open to suggestions:

 Before Sunrise
 Children Of Men
 Donnie Darko
 Four Weddings and a Funeral
 Good Will Hunting
 Grosse Point Blank
 Hell or High Water
 Jo Jo Rabbit
 La Dolce Vita
 La Notte
 Miller's Crossing
 Moonlight (2016)
 Never Let Me Go
 Pan's Labyrinth
 Punch Drunk Love
 Star Wars
 The Big Lebowski
 The Nice Guys
 The Raid 2
 or something else

Vote Results for Upcoming Posts

Thank you for your suggestion! Be sure to sign up below to be notified when new story circles are posted to the site!

votes for the next story circle
        Before Sunrise (14%)
        Pan's Labyrinth (13%)
        Star Wars (10%)
        Donnie Darko (9%)
        The Big Lebowski (7%)
        Punch Drunk Love (7%)
        Jo Jo Rabbit (6%)
        Hell or High Water (5%)
        Children Of Men (5%)
        Grosse Point Blank (5%)

Thanks again! And hey, if you’d like to write one of these articles, hit me up.

Write for Story24

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Write for Story24.

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