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Production executives, agents, studio readers are the people who have the power to change your life. Every weekend these folks have a pile of scripts the height of a toddler to read. Most of these scripts are bad. What keeps executives going is the moment when they can say, “Finally, someone who knows how to tell a story!” In short, a story that beats up all of the other stories in the stack. You want to be the writer of that script. So, let’s get started on cracking this locked-up safe! 

  1. Is my story worth writing? 

The first step is to develop your idea. You can find the idea actively in your life and surroundings. 

The next step is to figure out whether the idea is worth developing. Fulfilling the wish of your audience is the prominent key. How about living the adventure of a lifetime, or being the hero, or having the most fabulous romance?

You can divide your script into 3 acts. The theme across the acts looks like this:

Act 1: Thematic argument in action. 

Act 2, first part: Thematic question in action. 

Act 2, second part: Thematic question versus thematic argument. 

Act 3: The hero’s creation of a thematic synthesis. 

  1. Have I answered (brilliantly) the four questions?

1. Who is your hero?

2. What is your hero trying to accomplish?

3. Who is trying to stop your hero?

4. What happens if your hero fails?

Heroes ask questions. Villains make arguments.

  1. Is my hero sympathetic?

A hero should have suffered undeserved misfortune. That is when the audience connects with the hero. 

  1. Is my hero’s goal compelling? 

Heroes are doing something which does not allow them to turn their backs. If they do, innocent people will suffer. It is crucial because the suffering of the innocent is the core of empathy and drama. 

  1. Do I have a definite central question with three clear parts?

Act 1 introduces you to make your hero sympathetic. We see everything that helps us understand that we have a good person on our hands.

The first part of act 2 begins the journey of discovering the mission for your hero. In this, the hero starts testing the waters. They try to learn the needs to achieve their goals.

The second part of act 2 ratchets up the conflict between your hero and the villain. Your villain is now aware of your hero and his plans. We see how ruthlessly the villain is committed to stopping the hero. 

Act 3 brings it all home. Having us sit on the edge of the seat as the conflict comes to a head, the question that has haunted the hero (and us) pops up finally, “What happens if your hero fails?”

  1. Do the obstacles become increasingly difficult?

The hero is an innocent character. He grows to be the magician of the movie. It is crucial to make the obstacles difficult at every part. 

  1. Is the villain ruthlessly committed?

Ruthless villains make the best heroes. The extent of damage the villain causes should be vast. It is crucial to have a ruthlessly committed villain running your show.

  1. Are the hero and the villain connected by the unity of opposites?

Each pair represents opposite ends of the same spectrum, relying on each other to create balance. In storytelling, understanding the unity of opposites will not only add depth to your core hero-villain dynamics but will help you craft that dynamic from the very start.

Your villain is a dark reflection of your hero’s wants, needs, and desires. If not constrained by morality, purpose, or righteousness, the lead would act as the villain. The more you know about your hero, the more you will understand your villain and vice versa.

  1. Do I understand both my hero’s thematic question and my villain’s thematic argument?

You now have one of the slickest ways to build a better bad guy. All you have to do is answer the four questions, but do it from your villain’s perspective.

  1. Are the stakes life or death?

If it’s life (Eg, Shawshank Redemption) or death (Eg, Avengers), you have to make the hero willing to do whatever it takes. 

  1. Have I given those stakes a human face via a stakes character?

Giving a stakes character makes the story more interesting. If the hero does not achieve his goals, what will it do to the stakes character? 

  1. Have I used the Quick Pitch to see if my story can go the distance?

The quick pitch is the next step. It is the final filter to pass your idea through. It takes what you know about your sympathetic hero, his trip through the previous questions, and binds it all together into a short logline. The Quick Pitch helps you determine if your story can go the distance from fade in to fade out. 

  1. Am I treating the business like a business?

Being a screenwriter is one of the few businesses I can think of that can be launched for a few thousand bucks and return hundreds of thousands of rupees. Of course, the odds of that kind of return are long. Launching your writing career is risky. Once you have your computer and some primary software, you can be in a business year in and year out for pennies a day.

  1. Am I writing at least one insane thing? 

Insane thoughts have the most amazing stories. Try to blend at least some insane things about the characters in the story. 

  1. Have I thanked my loved ones for putting up with me?

If you want to be a writer, it is necessary to put yourself in the chair. But as you are writing, it is crucial to take yourself out of the chair. Smell some flowers, or even better, give them to the people who have supported you while you complete your story.


You are the hero of this particular story. There will be obstacles to overcome, to make allies, even the occasional dealing with the villain. There are very few real villains in this business. Remember; write now, right now, and then write again, right away.

Now quit reading this and WRITE something!

– Amruth Kumar N N 


Published by Utkarshini Journal

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