Combining Paradigm and Story Values


I wrote a little browser-based Application during last years Christmas. It’s just a little tool helping to visualize the positions of the scenes of your story within the paradigm. Each time you klick into the screen a little draggable box appears.

Visualizing Syd Field and Robert McKee - paradigm and story values

These boxes are representing scenes and while you can move most of them around the first five boxes are bound by their function within in the paradigm:

  • Inciting Incident
  • Climax
  • Plot Point I
  • Plot Point II
  • Central Point

Making up the basic structure of the story these five should ideally be clear before fleshing out the rest of the story. If you are interested in storytelling I would highly recommend reading “Screenplay” by Syd Field – it’s a treasure trove for anybody involved in communication and media, professionally or otherwise.

Adding some story values to the paradigm

Syd Fields paradigm works great for the overall frame. But it only gets better if you combine it with McKees advice on story values. Just switch the outcome for every other scene in regard to the purpose of the main character – that’s what I used the y-axis in this little Web for.

Use it for free

The code is licensend under the GPL v 3 and available on github. Be warned though: it’s quite messy – I just hacked this so I could have a prototype to blog about.

Seriously, I think this tool can help to talk and teach about story telling. If you want to store your work you can take the data from the box on the right hand side and store it in a txt-File. To resume your work you can just paste the data into the same box and klick the corresponding link.

If I find the time the next thing I’ll implement is a possibility do delete scenes via the GUI.