Create Stories by Fictionalizing Your Life Story


Understanding the internal side of your story conveys to your audience the depth that is felt emotionally and spiritually. Jennifer Grisanti offers insight into how to write the internal story into your screenplays and give them this compelling quality.

In Story Line: Finding Gold in your Life Story, Jennifer describes the internal components of story and why tapping into what you have felt deeply about in your life is the best place to write from. There are so many things including your theme, stakes and the internal part of your goal that comes alive when you add the authentic emotion of first-hand experience.

Jennifer describes theme in the following way, “Theme is the icing on the cake. It is the thread that pulls everything in your mosaic tapestry together. It is the idea that resonates in all of your storylines. Theme expresses how your central character goes about achieving his/her goal. It gives us insight into who your character is and helps us to understand what drives him. It is the spirit beneath your story that reveals itself very softly throughout but, by the end, it is totally clear.” What are themes that appear in your own life? Learn how to draw from them, add fiction to them and apply them to your story.

When we think of stakes, we imagine the worst that can happen to your central character if the goal is not achieved. Figuratively, we think death. On an internal, emotional level it can also look like loss of dignity, the despair of a life without true love, a life unrealized, an empty existence, the loss of a dream, etc.

Finally, let’s put it in the context of the goal. The internal drive is why your central character wants to achieve the goal. He or she wants to feel worthy, validated, loved, complete, healed, forgiven, etc. These are universal internal drives that every person has experienced on some level. It is the internal emotion that drives what the protagonist wants to achieve externally. Think about a goal you’ve strived for in your own life. What was the emotion that motivated the accomplishment of that goal? Take the truth of that emotion that drove you to succeed and apply it to your story.

When you guide your audience to the destination through these three components of theme, stakes and internal goal, you take them on an inspiring and deeply emotional journey.

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