Why You Should Break Story
I often say Bang2writers should ‘break story’ … But what does this mean and how do we do it?
Well, I used to be quite disorganised when I approached new projects. I was all over the place, hoping ‘inspiration’ would strike … and too often it wouldn’t! Supersadface.
Today, I follow a simple 5 step process to ‘Break Story’. To do this, I use ‘The 5 Ws’ – WHO/ WHAT/ WHERE/ WHEN / WHY. (Check out my infographic at the bottom of the post!).
Over time, I’ve streamlined process to breaking story and believe it benefits ALL writers. I will detail the reasons why, next.
1) You will be able to road test your concept quickly
I start every project with what I call a ‘baseline’ – an initial logline. This also enables me to road test my story and ensure my idea is not half-baked. Even better, it is easy to find beta readers and peer reviewers for a baseline. Other people’s experiences and opinions can help inform your story.
2) You can pitch it easily
If you want to sell your novel or screenplay, there’s no way around it – you need a kickers logline. The strongest pitches come from the strongest stories … And the strongest stories have out in this foundation work from the draft upwards. It’s a no brainer! More on hacking the pitching process.
3) You will be able to test your characters’ role functions and motivations easily
By following the five Ws, you can create a character that is a strong foundation for your plot. Characters that resonate are those with strong motivations. In other words, knowing what your protagonist wants or needs (and why the antagonist wants to stop him/her!) is KEY to a strong story. Similarly, knowing who your secondary characters are, what they want and why stops them becoming cardboard cut-outs.
4) You can work on your target audience
Some writers believe that thinking about audience at an early stage is ‘selling out’. It is not … All you’re thinking about is WHO you are writing for. Once you know this and build it in from the beginning, you’re less likely to go off at a tangent. You’re also more likely to get the results you want.
5) You will be able to demonstrate your writer’s voice effectively
Every agent, publisher, producer or TV network wants ‘strong voices’, aka a writer with ‘something to say’. If you break story, you can know what message you are sending from the offset. What’s not to like? Here’s How to Find Your Writer’s Voice.
6) You can beat writer’s block too
By the way, you don’t have to use the 5 Ws only at the beginning of your project. Lots of writers find they run out of steam or get blocked in the middle of novels and screenplays, too.
You guessed it – those 5 Ws can help you get UNstuck too!
Very often, we run out steam or get blocked because we have forgotten why we started writing it in the first place. By returning to those 5 Ws, we can …
- unlock our own motivations for writing our project
- pinpoint what we have underwritten AND overwritten
- figure out what we need to do next
Try the 5 Ws Yourself
I spent MONTHS tweaking this process because I knew that I will be repeating it hundreds of times to come. Best of all, using these ‘5 Ws’ can help you too.
I believe all writers, new to professional, benefit from breaking story. Find out more, HERE.
For a demonstration of all the above using one of my crime novels, CHECK THIS OUT.
So what are you waiting for?? Go forth and break story!
Want to see story in action?
I recorded a Logline surgery video on Zoom recently with a brave Bang2writer who let me put his logline under the microscope. We identified the key components of his story and rewrote it, clarifying the concept and making it a MUCH smoother and clearer pitch.
So make sure you grab your free training by CLICKING HERE or on any of the pics in this post. Enjoy and hope it’s illuminating!