Story Worlds can Improve your Screenplay

If you think every screenplay needs to be set in a story world you’re wrong. It needs to be set in two story worlds. And the further apart those two worlds are the better.


There are at least eight elements that make up a story world


To make use of this in your story, you need to understand and identify each of the elements that make up a story world. By changing just one of these elements you can change the entire world. That’s because they all interact with each other and by altering one you change the range of relationships between them, and so ultimately everything changes.

These elements are; Fantasy / Reality, Physical Space, Time Period, Inhabitants, Society, Morality, Spirituality and Technology.

Each one also has options and subsets that will change the world, the permutations are endless, and you are in control. Choose wisely!


Make your story worlds as far apart as you can


Whatever your story is, you can improve it by selecting one of these elements and making certain that in your two worlds, they are on opposite ends of the scale.  There are many examples of how this works; here are a few obvious ones.


Two Worlds Fantasy/Reality  Two Worlds Physical Space

Fantasy / Reality – Avatar,      Physical Space – Panic Room,

Two Worlds Time Period Two Worlds Inhabitants

 Time Period – Back to the Future,      Inhabitants – Jurassic Park


Two Worlds Society   Two Worlds Morality

Society – Trading Places,      Morality – Silence of the Lambs,

Two Worlds Spirituality  Two Worlds Technology

Spirituality – Witness,      Technology – I, Robot


A world is not only defined by geography

Every world is a combination of elements and the details that make up each one. The above examples refer to the obvious differences, but every one also has definitions for the other elements.

So before you start writing check out the possibilities, experiment and see what happens if you adjust the two story worlds in your screenplay to be further apart. You might just surprise yourself!

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  1. Thatoyamodimo Dipholo

    For someone who didn’t study writing or go to film school like me, and is only getting into screen writing now, this is very helpful. I’m able to identify elements of the story easier and work on them better. Thank you for this.

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