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What’s The Difference Between Story & Plot?

I did a guest talk at The Bournemouth University Writers’ Society last night. It was a great turn out and hosted by the marvellous and enterprising Sam Hutchinson, so if you’re a student at the uni and interested in writing (you don’t have to be a Scriptwriting student to join, so I’m told) then you should definitely get down there. Join the Facebook group here.

My talk was about the difference between story & plot with sidelines into central concept, theme, audience and structure. These are elements Bang2writers often struggle with, especially at first draft, pitching or rewriting stage (especially when deciding whether to go for the fabled “page 1 rewrite”): if you don’t know *what* your script is, then how do you know *who* you are writing for? If you’re not sure of how story and plot differ, then how do you know if you are writing in the “right” genre, in the “right” way ( whatever that actually means – ie. convention, audience expectation, etc). If you’re not sure how structure *could work* for your story, then how do you know if your draft is “running on the spot”?

Anyway, I thought it would be an idea to let my powerpoint presentation be available to ALL Bang2writers, so I’ve stuck it up on my downloads page for you to access. You can download it below. The presentation was composed on Office for Mac, so it *should* be OK for PCs, let me know if it’s not. Though of course you will need Powerpoint to open it!

Of course, you won’t get a running commentary from me like The BUWS did, where I talked waaaay too much about CON AIR for some reason, not to mention ghosts or sex scenes and there will be NO double entendre about the word “seminal” either… But perhaps all that’s a good thing, haha. Enjoy!

UPDATE: TV screenwriter Sally Abbott just made the excellent observation over at my Facebook profile: “Plot is what happens, story is what it means.” Couldn’t agree more!


Story/Plot Presentation (Powerpoint for Macs)

Story/Presentation (Powerpoint for PCs)

“Screenwriting Tips” – PDF e-book, on screenwriting devices like montage & reversals, craft & feedback issues. A WHOPPING 276 downloads so far (just 2 weeks!), thanks!

Bang2write Format Template – 1 page PDF reference guide/checklist on Format issues

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