Elements of a Classical Narrative

ACT 1 = Beginning/introduction/the main question

Introduce a question and the characters e.g. there is a prince, there is a princess, there is a monster. He needs to kill the monster to save the princess. How would he kill the monster?

ACT 2 = The Middle/the rollercoaster ride/ the path / the hurdles / the struggle

Fill-in the middle with unpredictable events and struggles. 

These events should either reveal more about the character, the environment or move the story forward i.e.give more facts about the character’s personality (e.g. The prince is afraid of heights) or introduce an event ( e.g. The prince falls from a staircase)
or provide more clues to the solution (e.g. the monster is allergic to salt). Make bad things happen to your protagonist. Make him suffer; make him so miserable that the audience would want him to win. Make the audience feel that he is a loser and not a prince. Take him to the point of no return.

Divide the middle into chapters. 

Each chapter should be a question with an answer e.g.

Chapter 1 –
The prince falls from a stair case. He breaks his leg and becomes height-o-phobic. He gets admitted to a room at the ground floor. In the hospital he hears the doctors talk about a patient who is allergic to salt. The prince discovers the patient to be none other than the Monster. He finds a bottle of salt and plans to go to the monster’s room. But the room of the monster is on the 24th floor of the hospital. How would he get there? Remember he is afraid of heights.

Each chapter is itself a small script with a beginning middle and an end. Put obstacles in front of the prince that he needs to break in order to reach to the monster.

Distractions 

Distract the audience e.g. the prince develops a crush on the hospital nurse. He begins wasting his time with her. Then he becomes a video game addict. The medicines make him weaker.

Comparisons – comparison creates interest.

If a short man is placed right next to another short man then both will look equal and it creates boredom. If a short man is placed next to a taller man then both of them will look unequal and this creates interest.

Boredom – boredom makes people less interested, but we are here to kill it.

If you play something interesting after a boring piece then the interesting piece appears much more interesting. Boredom amplifies the effects of comparison. First make the audience feel bored, then do something exciting. The exciting stuff will now appear much more exciting.

Make at least 5 bad things happen to the prince

      1. Prince falls from the stair case
      2. Prince becomes handicap
      3. Prince wastes his time and money on a girl
      4. Prince becomes a popper
      5. Prince is thrown out of the hospital. He has become weak and miserable

ACT 3 = End/the solution/

Use creative problem solving or real problem solving tricks

Creative problem solving means using your imagination to find a solution, super powers, magical incidents, wishful solutions…etc.

For Example

        • Prince kills the monster. Prince wins against all odds e.g.the prince becomes aware of his purpose
        • The prince realizes that the nurse was actually a trap set by the monster
        • The prince sees hundreds of victims of the monster.
        • The prince sees a beautiful poor girl who lost her family because of the monster
        • The prince plans a revenge
        • The prince regains his strength
        • The prince overcomes his fear of heights
        • The prince defeats the monster in a final battle

Real problem solving means using research to find a solution. A few of the problems faced by our characters in the story are also faced by real people in real life.  You can dig up news stories, biographies, personal anecdotes to learn about the solutions from them.

The seeds for the future

You can leave something alive if you want to make a sequel again e.g. the duplicate clone of the monster opens its eyes in his cave in the forest, to be continued …. etc etc

The following video sums it all up in a cute little animation

P.S
You can also read the entire story of The Prince and The Monster in this blog itself under the short-story section. It was written using the principles discussed in this post.
Cheers !

 

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