Studying Story Structure | Monomyth and Jurassic Park

Studying Story Structure
The next story that I am working on is something that I’m currently not certain what genre it is. Right now it looks like horror. But I know that it has potential beyond that. Right now I am reworking its basic story structure.
If you think of story as a road, it is something that takes us on a journey from one end to the other end, easy, beautiful and clean. You don’t need to know anything other than to walk or drive on it.

A good story is like a bridge - Studying Story Structure

But if you look at the road from the side, then you will see that under the road we so easily travelled on, is an ingenious structural engineering. (Image for illustrative purposes only. Ehm!)
How a Bridge Actually is - Studying Story Structure
How a Bridge Actually is – Studying Story Structure
A good story is like a road that we so easily traverse on. But underneath it is an ingenious story structure. It is for this reason that I ask everyone, working in any artistic medium, to learn story structure.

What is Story Structure?

Any story can be said to have three parts—the beginning, middle and end. Duh! It is not rocket science after all. (Or so I thought.) Anyway, a bridge has just one purpose, to get people from one end to another. But based on the requirement, say the length of the crossing, the train it is going over and so on, each bridge requires a different engineering technique to be used.
Similarly according to each story’s requirement each needs different story structure. Some of the common story structures are the three act structure, four act structure, five act structure and so on. The basic structure we said before—of beginning, middle and end—can be said to to correspond to the three act structure’s act one, act two and act three.
The story that I am currently working on is more closely related to the Monomyth structure of Joseph Campbell. I had read his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces long back. I reread it last week and had been trying to see it applied to already established classics that I loved like Jurassic Park.
Applying Monomyth Story Structure to Jurassic Park
Applying Monomyth Story Structure to Jurassic Park
I am still figuring it all out and am not yet sure how it fits, or doesn’t fit. So take this with a pinch of salt.

Writer Engineering the Story

Someone strolling across the bridge of course need not know how the bridge was built or what different techniques were used. They just want to enjoy the ride and get to the other end. But what they all know is that unless there is a solid foundation, an engineer who thought of all that is needed, the bridge is going to collapse.
My job as the writer is to ensure that the readers, the film’s audience, have a seamless passage across the bridge, safe and sound. I’m thinking of making it into a book first and then turning it into a script. So that the time I spend trying to find the right producer for the film is also being spent productively. The publicity that the book brings will also add on to the publicity of the film. Who knows, the film might even get a an audience outside of Kerala as the book would be in English.

My job as the writer - Studying Story Structure

All the research into story, story structure and all have been so fun. In fact I have been enjoying it so much that I do not know if I can even call it studying. Currently reading a Chinese novel, the name of which roughly translates to Reverend Insanity. Anyway, now that the book detailing how we made our debut film is also scheduled and ready for release, the next couple of months is going to be an engaging time building this new bridge. Wishing you a great week too.

Additional Resources

  • The study of Monomyth and Jurassic Park was inspired from a video by Mike Hill. Watch for more information.

Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!

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