What Is A Story? ~ Noah Bailey

In my experience, stories can be told in many different forms. There is a story behind everything if you look for it. But a true story can be identified by the way in which it is told. The first and most important rule to writing a good story is it has to be interesting. If it isn’t, then there is no point to telling it. People will lose interest. I have found this to be true with different mediums of storytelling – films, scripts, novels, comics, paintings, etc. It has to come from a good spark and maintain an interest. Just as important as having an interesting story to tell, is to have interesting characters, each driven by their own unique personalities and set of goals. Stories also generally have an overall tone to them, which comes as a result of many aspects of writing. One of the important factors which contributes to the tone of a piece is the use of strong imagery – descriptions and details. There will also be underlying thematic elements to a real story as well, which vary greatly depending on the nature of the story. Common themes often relate to human relationships (friendship, heartbreak) and ultimately, as is the case with most stories: the battle of good versus evil and the relationship between the two. A lot of stories tend to question what evil can be defined as and where the boundaries between good and evil exist.

Stories aren’t Instagram posts about what you ate for dinner. They are crafted over time. Learning to become a screenwriter, I have found that a decent story is not easy to come by. They really aren’t a dime a dozen. It takes a ton of writing and even more editing (going back and deleting pages, re-writing), revising ideas and improving upon them every chance you get. The script I’ve been working on is barely into its second draft and I’ve been working on it for a year. It’s been a lot of trial and error figuring out how to maintain a consistent flow while structuring the three acts and keeping it all within 120 pages. Storytelling in this way can be very complex. And that isn’t to say that stories can’t also be simple. But to me, they are quite the opposite.

What a story is, honestly, is extremely difficult to define.


One thought on “What Is A Story? ~ Noah Bailey

  1. meaganmthornton January 25, 2015 / 2:19 am

    Good thoughts here on story. I appreciated your point on how stories take on a tone. This tone is important and it is important to keep it constant and honest throughout the story. I hope that this class helps you work on that screenplay. -Meagan


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