Richard McCullough shares his views on what makes a great script.
There are two major subdivisions to the subject of writing fiction –
- Good story
To understand what constitutes a “good story” we have to look at purpose. What is the reader buying and why are they buying it?
Entertainment is too shallow an answer. People only buy solutions to their problems. And stories solve two problems for the reader: relief from boredom, and distraction from their problems. That’s what the reader is buying – relief from their life or problems. They could use booze, drugs, a movie or a rollercoaster ride. Any of those things could provide some “relief” but some of these solutions are more beneficial than others.
To the degree our story solves the reader’s problem, it’s a good story.
- Well told
What makes a story “well told”? What is “telling well”?
Again we have to look at purpose. To achieve “relief”, the telling of the story (and the story itself) must catch and hold the attention of the reader long enough for them to experience enough relief that they feel satisfied.
A story must also provide an emotional and intellectual experience. This is part of how it catches and holds the readers attention. It engages their attention on an emotional and intellectual level – some of each. Emotional and intellectual are the two ends of a gradient scale. Each story could be placed at some point on the scale between total emotional and total intellectual.
No story can be written that is all one and nothing of the other.