In my meanderings on the web, I stumbled across a short video on screen writing. The presenters are two Emmy-winning screen writers, and they know a thing or two about telling a good story.
They boil the story-telling stew down to three words — actually 2 do’s and 1 don’t:
- And then.
All elements in your story have to connect to what preceded them. They can connect via an implied “therefore,” for the logical and possible to anticipate, or an implicit “but” for the unanticipated surprises that life hands you or the changes in direction you may have made. You don’t need to explicitly include those words, but the presence of those concepts means you have a story.
However, if you have “And then,” your story doesn’t work. There’s a gap — not a surprise, but a hole in the chain of events or your logic.
What works for viewers of the small screen also works for the readers of your application essays, personal statement, or statement of purpose.
(If interested, you can see the full video at MTVu.)
By Linda Abraham, founder and president of Accepted.com