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Friday, August 30, 2013

Aaron Sorkin On Story Structure


I kind of worship at the altar of intention and obstacle. Somebody wants something. Something's standing in their way of getting it. They want the money, they want the girl, they want to get to Philadelphia — doesn't matter. And if they can need it, that's even better. Whatever the obstacle is, you can't overcome it like that or the audience is going to say, "Why don't they just take the other car?" or "Why don't you just shoot him?" The obstacle has to be difficult to overcome. And that's the clothesline that you hang everything on — the tactics by which your characters try to achieve their goal. That's the story that you end up telling. The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called Poetics. It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you're writing, you've probably broken one of Aristotle's rules.
Aaron Sorkin

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