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SIFF Workshop Offers Lessons On Creating Exciting Twists And Memorable Characters

’Creating Stories’ workshop outlines five basic elements essential to developing a strong story structure

How do you bring a good story to life?

Creative Lab, the educational partner of the ongoing 8th Sharjah International Film Festival (SIFF), held an engaging virtual workshop to take forward its goal of nurturing creative media talent amongst children and youth in the UAE as it underlined the basic building blocks that go towards creating a great story.

Held on SIFF’s platform, the workshop titled ‘Creating Stories’, was led by Talal Al Asmani, Sr. Development Executive, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, who narrowed down five specific elements essential for great storytelling.

“The blueprint of a story lies in its outline,” explainedAsmani. “This is an overview of the plan of the plot, which though not sketched out fully must still be detailed and possess all the key elements to make the story work.”

Talal Al Asmani, who studied filmmaking at Los Angeles, said the first step in writing a great story is developing the ‘Big Idea’, or creating a situation that would set up the basic premise of the story. The next step is to create a character with a defining problem such as being lazy, reckless, or dishonest, for instance. This is followed by a very specific and reachable goal that the character must pursue, which stems from the ‘Big Idea’ of the story.

Creating conflict or challenges that come between the protagonist and his/her goal is another key element, he emphasised. “Without conflicts, a movie would be boring; and as a writer, you must make it very difficult for the protagonist to get out of a given situation.”

The final element, he added, is the theme which is built through the narrative and draws connections between all the other elements of the story. “An important point to remember is that planning your script keeps you on track and helps you stay creative when you finally begin the process of writing.”

Stating that even the best writers in the world may need to rewrite their drafts several times to perfect the story, he told the young audience that these key elements could be applied to any genre or format of writing. 

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