Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part One: Creating Stories
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Bus stop structure

A variation on the 'Linear' structure is the BUS STOP structure. This has characters coming into, and going out the story at various parts. It is a bit like people getting on and off a bus.

Cinderella is an example. Basically the story is about the orphaned Cinderella living with her ugly sisters and cruel stepmother. The fairy Godmother comes in, solves a problem, and then leaves.

Flow Diagram 10

The Fairy Godmother doesn't play any dramatic part other than supply the necessary means to move the story ahead.


1. Find two other stories that have characters come into the story just for one event to help the main character.

2. Suggest some other way that Cinderella might have got to the Ball without the help of the Fairy Godmother.


Zig-zag structure

The ZIG-ZAG structure has new characters coming into the story, and old ones leaving. It is very commonly used in TV Soap Operas. In this way the story can be kept going for years. This structure will normally have several stories going on at the same time, so that when one situation reaches a critical point, the story switches to another group of characters.

A brief storyline might go alone the following path:


Mary and John are in love and intend to get married.


But Mary's widowed father is in an accident, and Mary has to put off the marriage.


John is then offered a good job abroad, but must accept immediately or lose it.


John must choose accepting the job and losing Mary, or marrying Mary and losing the job.


A past love of the father suddenly appears by chance. She welcomes the opportunity to look after the father. They find they still love each other.


John and Mary get married and go abroad; while the father's new love becomes the next storyline.

By creating a storyline that goes off in different directions, the end of one story episode becomes the start of a new story.


The tree structure

This is like a Family Tree, but with small groups of people who interact which might typically be a small village, office, or people who regularly visit a pub, club, or the like. A simple diagram might be like this:

Flow Diagram 11

Apart from the relationships and problems between Fred, Sally, Jean, and Harry, there would also be the problems they have with their families and friends. With common friends and chance meetings, there would be and endless variety of story possibilities.


Write down three situations where Fred, Sally, Jean, and Harry might regularly meet up.

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