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Premise test – notes on stakes.

"The stakes are not ours. They are the characters."*   Stakes are both easy and hard. It’s a category that's easy to fill in with something, hard to fill in well. Stakes are consequences. They are what will happen if the hero fails to meet his goal. If our heroes are blue collar heroes who... Continue Reading →

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The first act creates context

A first act creates the context: the facts a reader needs to understand the story going forward. It contextualizes a lot of things including: Character Who are we following and what's their deal? What’s their archetype? what are their distinct traits? What do they want? Take a movie like THE VERDICT. At no point does... Continue Reading →

The best notes tend to be specific

Reading services, from the Blacklist to me, prefer to give overall notes in a general way. They're easier to do, and harder to specifically challenge. Unfortunately, they're not always the most helpful. Take these Blacklist notes posted by reddit user wolfduke : The narrative suffers from a premise that is ungrounded, as it introduces a sprawling... Continue Reading →

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