Writing the Ten Best Story Types

Writing the Ten Best Story Types

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“Dude with a Problem.” “Fool Triumphant.” “Golden Fleece.” Have you heard such terms bandied about by screenwriter friends, as they describe and develop their screenplays? If you have, it’s because Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat books are arguably the most popular and helpful screenwriting tools to emerge in the last decade – and some of his fun phraseology has seeped into the consciousness of writers around the world.

And it’s a good thing – because along with his 15-point “Beat Sheet” structure paradigm, his ten “genres” (and fifty “subgenres”) have brought a new language and approach to the study of what makes movie stories work – and what successful scripts seem to have in common. He came up with an original set of story types that account for virtually every successful movie one could name. And he showed how, for instance, Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde and The 40-Year-Old Virgin are all really the same kind of movie: each centers on a seeming “fool” with positive values, who meets up with a more worldly “establishment,” and after going through some sort of “transmutation,” turns out to be wiser than everyone, and impacts this world in a positive way (i.e. the “Fool Triumphant”).

In this webinar, multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning screenwriter Erik Bork (HBO’s BAND OF BROTHERS) will lay out how each of these genres work, with numerous movie examples – and discuss the common pitfalls and challenges that come with each type of story. (See his updated chart of the genres and subgenres, to learn more.) He will explain how these genres have transformed his approach to writing and working with writers, and how they can be instrumental in developing movie ideas into potentially marketplace screenplays.

Spec scripts that sell – and movies that studios make – tend to fit squarely and pretty obviously within one of these ten narrative categories. And it’s amazing how much wide variation there can be within each genre. (For instance, The Hangover, Up and Saving Private Ryan are all “Golden Fleeces”.) What the “genres” really focus on is the type of story problem, conflict-laden situation, and relatable main character goal that is meant to drive audience emotional investment in the story (while also greatly entertaining them). By understanding these underlying templates for commercial screenwriting, writers can take some of the guess work out of the idea generation process – and elevate their concepts and scripts to a new level.


  • The keys to getting the audience invested in a particular story outcome
  • The elements of a workable logline, and how the ten genres can help
  • When it’s okay for the audience’s goal to differ from the main character’s
  • Why a consistently problematic central dramatic situation is so important
  • Why Erin Brockovich is a “Superhero” (hint: it involves helping others)
  • The reason why some great movies seem to have more than one genre
  • Why producers are obsessed with “stakes” – and why you should be, too
  • How magical and fantastical material works only in certain genres
  • What to do if you discover your idea doesn’t fit any of the ten types
  • The role of “what’s in the way?” as the central focus of any good script


  • Writers who feel they need work on “concept” and “structure”
  • Writers looking for a tool to use in measuring and developing their ideas
  • Writers having trouble figuring out which concept to write
  • Writers who like studying successful movies for comparison and learning
  • Writers facing a challenging rewrite and major story issues
  • Writers trying to find the best way to adapt a true story to the screen
  • Professional or aspiring writers living anywhere in the world
  • Writers looking for inspiration and guidance from someone they can relate to

The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.