Friday, April 15, 2016

Update on Screenwriting & The Unified Theory of Narrative Part II

Hello everyone. When I released The Unified Theory of Narrative Part I back in November, I expected Part II to be finished and available by March or April. Yet now it is April 15th and that is clearly not the case. Wrapping up the final revisions of Part II has been a real grind (it is about twice the length of Part I and gets into some pretty heady subject matter), but it is slowly and steadily moving along. Barring some major breakdown or act of God, I now expect it to be available in July or (I hope not) August.

Just to whet your appetites, along with the completion of the Unified Theory of Narrative (a process that connects the basic unified narrative structure found in Part I with the cinematic five-layered structure of meaning to be introduced in Part II), Part II will also contain a full and complete analysis of my theory of the Sixteen Common Plot Patterns of Hollywood and American Independent Cinema, as first introduced years ago in an article on this blog. (Yes, I know I originally believed there to be 20 plot patterns, and then 21, but through the exhaustive analysis of literally hundreds of films I can conclusively declare there to be exactly sixteen common plot patterns, with thirty-four subtypes.) Enough for a book in itself (I expect the chapters on plot patterns to clock in at around 200 pages) the book will go into significant detail to explain exactly what plot patterns are, how they function, and why they have come to exist -- along with detailed breakdowns on all thirty-four subtypes illustrated by diverse collections of popular films. (Would you believe Chinatown and WALL-E follow the same basic underlying plot structure? Or that True Grit and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy are pretty much the same film? Whodathunkit?)

Meanwhile, you can read an adapted excerpt from Chapter 1-3 of Part I published on Creative Screenwriting Magazine online. It introduces the Thematic Argument, the structure by which the cinematic narrative communicates its theme. It's not exactly advanced stuff (mattering on what your definition of "advanced" is), but lays the groundwork for the more complex material on the connections between theme, plot, and character found later in the book.

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