Story telling on paper and for film is the same

The principles of good storytelling in film also apply to storytelling on paper.

The litmus test of a good story is how a main character reacts to challenge. At the start of the story he or she is one kind of person and by the end transformed into another. The protagonist overcomes obstacles along the way and when he or she reaches journey’s end the world and the protagonist are changed. This is referred to as the Hero’s Journey.

Christopher Vogler, in The Writer’s Journey, covers the stages of a well told story based on mythic structures. The inciting Incident sets the hero on his or her journey.

In a gripping Korean Netflicks series, Money Flower, the inciting incident is the moment when the hero discovers he has no place in a wealthy family because he is illegitimate. At that point he has two choices – accept his place in the world of the disenfranchised or dispute it. He does the latter and the journey is phenomenal.

The stages of a well told story are based on Joseph Campbell’s  The Hero’s Journey. Campbell researched mythic structures and discovered recurring patterns. The inciting Incident sets the hero on his or her journey.

Everyone enjoys a story about the rise of the underdog.

Regardless of the format by which the story is delivered, there is a balance between engaging a reader in a story with fast moving action and narrative while providing background.  The goal is to avoid boring readers with detail or confusing them with fast paced, sparse description.

It's important to balance faster- and slower-paced sections in your work to create a story that flows seamlessly, develops plot and characters effectively, and engages readers consistently. Claire Bradshaw, Writer’s Edit.

The story’s premise is: Despite being denied his birth-right, a man overcomes all barriers to win his rightful place as undisputed leader of his father’s company. 

Vogler says there is no story until the hero single mindedly sets out to attain a goal.  Pil-joo's all- consuming goal is to win recognition by the family that has disinherited him. He allows absolutely nothing to stand in his way, not even the love of a woman.

To achieve his goal, he has to overcome what Vogler calls, Threshold Guardians. These are people who will guard the status quo and their interests at any cost. In our careers we all have overcome barriers created by Threshold Guardians and Vogler refers to this.

The characters in Money Flower fitted all the archetypes found in a story of good versus evil. However, they were unique and cleverly crafted with personalities that enabled the viewer to empathise with them despite not liking some of them. That is quite an achievement by a writer.

A good story needs the kind of tension that such a clash of personalities creates. In today’s competitive world where reading choices are plentiful a book must engage all our senses and make us keen to read the next page.

Putting ourselves in the reader’s shoes helps us understand how good stories engage readers. Money Flower engaged me completely. It is a fantastic story.

Analysing stories that engage us is a worthwhile exercise. The understanding gives us insights into how to write for our readers.