Truby celebrates Romantic Comedies, part two: Foundation of Love Stories


John Truby is regarded as the serious writer’s story coach and has taught his 22-Step Great Screenwriting and Genre courses to sold-out audiences.   Truby continues to serve as a story consultant to the major studios, including Sony Pictures, HBO, and Disney Studios.  Truby‘s best-selling book The Anatomy of Story newly out in paperback, has received glowing reviews and is used as a textbook at film schools across the country.

In honor of this weekend’s opening for Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman ‘s The Switch, today John Truby reviews the romantic comedy Music & Lyrics in two parts (link to the second part is at the bottom).  Music and Lyrics stars Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore and written by Marc Lawrence.

And here is part 2…

A second technique the writer uses in Music and Lyrics is “mutual need.” In this technique, both characters exhibit a variation on the same need. Don’t get me wrong; you don’t have to use mutual need to write a great story. But it’s an especially useful technique in love stories, because love stories are founded on the concept of two people learning from each other. Giving two characters a variation of the same need helps the audience better understand how the characters are closed off at the beginning and how they blossom at the end.

In Music and Lyrics, both characters are experiencing some form of stunted creativity. Alex is a has-been who has tried to fix his creative failure by writing soulless, formulaic songs. Sophie is a writer who was dumped by a famous novelist who told her she had no originality. Each must find their creativity before they can find love with the other. And each becomes creative because of the help they receive from the other.

Romantic comedies may be tired right now, but use that to your advantage. The writer who finds his or her own creativity in this form will find the audience beating a path to their door.

This is a 2-part Truby Screenwriting review: click for part 1,

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