The Roadmap of Change
Venturing Into The Woods with John Yorke
In his bestselling guide for screenwriting, Into The Woods, story expert John Yorke advocates that “Change is the bedrock of life and, consequently, the bedrock of narrative”. For the screenwriter, this process of change can be mapped across a five-act structure.
For Yorke, this “roadmap of change” forms a paradigm that the screenwriter can use to chart the learning of a story’s central character:
…learning is central to every three-dimensional story: that is how the characters change; they learn to overcome their flaw and, what’s more, they appear to learn according to a pattern. Their unconscious flaw is brought to surface, exposed to a new world, acted upon; the consequences of overcoming their flaw are explored, doubt and prevarication set in before, finally, they resolve to conquer it and embrace their new selves”. (John Yorke, Into The Woods, p.51/2)
One of the several apt examples used by Yorke to demonstrate is the journey of Michael Corleone in The Godfather.