The Doc Fix


Regularly updated articles on story structure and analysis; tips, thoughts and useful bits and pieces.

A Commercial With a Perfect Structure

In just 30 seconds this TV commercial for The Guardian - Point of View - brilliantly manages to include all four points of view necessary to tell a complete story. The reason is the power of perspective in storytelling.

Hard science - the stories of ideas

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One of the most interesting applications of these techniques is in areas where more conventional story telling theories have very little to say. Subjects include factual TV programmes about abstract concepts such as space, the universe, hard science and so on. Even esoteric art films need a workable structure to hold your audience's attention beyond their aesthetics.


The Siren Song of a Complete Story

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Most of us know the story of the Sirens; how, to resist the lure of their song, Odysseus blocked his ears with wax and ordered his sailors to lash him to his ship’s mast. But what was it that had lured so many sailors onto the rocks?


Jack of All Trades

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Very early on in life, I think we make a choice about being a specialist or generalist. Unfortunately being a generalist has always had an image problem. Jack of All Trades, Master of None has never been seen as a positive. Thank goodness for Wikipedia, to show me how off the mark that judgement can sometimes be - very soon after the term was coined.

Is a perfect structure essential?

Yes, absolutely. And no, not really. There are many successful programmes that don't necessarily have perfect structure. They are lucky to have some of the other elements that can make a programme a success. Some of these are inherent in the production - amazing access, astonishing events, great characters and timeliness. Some of these are out of your hands - the backing of the channel, great promotion and, of course, good luck.


David Foster Wallace - The Nature of Fun

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David Foster Wallace's The Nature of Fun is one of the best pieces of writing I've come across about why we enjoy creating, where the fun goes when you worry about being good at it, and how to get it back. It was first printed in Fiction Writer Magazine, September 1998, then anthologised in Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction, edited by Will Blythe. Do buy the book. I would put an Amazon link, but there are other sellers….