The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Dwight Swain Model--part one

In the wonderful TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER by Dwight V. Swain, he lays down the simplest story model that I find actually useful:
SITUATION
CHARACTER
OBJECTIVE
OPPONENT
DISASTER.
######
This is basic, kindergarten stuff, but workable.  My favorite example is the classic James Bond movie, "Goldfinger"--
SITUATION:  When gold is being smuggled out of England in large quantities,
CHARACTER: Secret agent 007 James Bond
OBJECTIVE: Is assigned to learn how it's being done.  But little does he realize that
OPPONENT: Super-Industrialist Auric Goldfinger
DISASTER: Is smuggling gold to finance his real operation--the destruction of Fort Knox with an atom bomb.
###
Once this is laid out, could the thrust of this film be any more obvious?  The goals, oppositions, values, and implied actions are all laid right out there.
Try this with a few of your favorite movies.  Post your thoughts, and I'll give you feedback where it will benefit the entire Lifewriting tribe.  Go for it!

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