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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price

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FiveStory

And I’m Sticking to It

“If you string together a set of speeches expressive of character, and well finished in point of diction and thought, you will not produce the essential tragic effect nearly so well as with a play which, however deficient in these respects, yet has a plot and artistically constructed incidents. … The STORY, then, is the first principle, and as it were, the soul of a tragedy.”

(Poetics, Part VI)

Let’s go ahead and put too fine a point on it. Whether we’re discussing tragedy, comedy, movies, jokes, commercials, any form of narrative, Aristotle’s Guiding Precept #2 is simply:

THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF A SCREENPLAY IS THE STORY.

If you have to go to sleep every night chanting to yourself “story, story, ...

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