A good dramatic story sets up an equation and solves it. What exactly does this mean? It's hard
to explain. It's when everything is there for a reason, and nothing goes wasted. It's when what
gets set up early in the story always pays off later. It's when symmetry is king.
It's what tugs at you when you're in the presence of cinematic greatness, the sense that everything's been resolved. It's also what aggravates you when the pieces don't all seem to fit, when something just ain't right, when all the loose ends didn't get tied up.
Reading and writing tight poetry might help you gain a greater sense of it. As might reviewing country lyrics, or even writing them. Listen to really good jokes. Retell them. Watch television commercials carefully, or listen to radio ads. After a while you'll know it when you see it, and you won't be satisfied until you get there.
Story Dynamics sets out to explain exactly this phenomenon.
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