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Developing Story Ideas

2nd Edition

By Michael Rabiger, Michael Rabiger

  1. ISBN: 9780240807362
  2. Publication Date: October 2005
  3. Format: Paperback
  4. Pages: 254
  5. Price:
    • $25.95 (USD)
    • £15.99 (GBP)
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The vast majority of screenplay and writing books focus on story development and have little to say about the initial concept that generated the piece. Developing Story Ideas offers writers a spectrum of resources and a structure of writing practice so that anyone can quickly and reliably generate a wide variety of stories in a broad range of forms. It first shows you how to observe situations, acts, and themes-and use these observations as the basis for storytelling. Exercises and projects help you draw an artistic self-profile to summarize what you most need to investigate in your creative work.

Micahel Rabiger, a renowned teacher, author, educator, and mentor, proves we all have the inner resources and life experiences to be creative. He guides aspiring writers step by step to come up with quality story ideas in a broad range of forms: a screenplay, short story, documentary, or play.

Author Bio

Michael Rabiger has directed or edited over 35 films, founded the Documentary Center at Columbia College, Chicago, and was Chair of its Film/Video Department. Now Professor Emeritus, Rabiger has also been presented with the Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association. He has given workshops in many countries, led a multinational European documentary workshop for CILECT, the international association of film schools. As Visiting Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he taught idea development, directing, and advanced production. When he retired 2001 to write full-time, Columbia renamed its documentary center "The Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary.? In 2002 he was made Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; in 2003 awarded the 2003 Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles; in 2005 the Genius Career Achievement Award by the Chicago International Documentary Festival, and also in 2005 was made Professor Emeritus by Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of the enormously successful, Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics (Focal Press), now in its fourth edition, and Directing the Documentary (Focal Press), now in its fifth edition. He is also the author of Developing Story Ideas (Focal Press), currently in its second edition. He is currently writing a biography of Thomas Hardy.


"Using the tools of the screenwriter's trade… Rabiger reveals how to chart a scene and represent its intensity as a dramatic arc, as well as exploring how to analyse stories for effectiveness, meaning and purpose, which is relevant to film and video creators at all levels." - What Digital Camcorder

"Rabiger does a nice job, guiding the reader through the writing process from selecting a genre to creating the plot to developing interesting characters. If you'd like to become a better scriptwriter, this one is well worth the money." - Videomaker Magazine

"His program-between-covers for developing ideas into proposals that will sell is more textbook than narrative…The value of Rabiger's book for an individual writer almost surely depends on how that writer's mind operates." - The Writer, May 2006


Introduction; Part I: Overview; This Book and Its Goals; About the Creative Process; Part II: Observation, Improvisation, and Self Examination Projects; Introductions and Playing 'Instant Story'; Autobiography and Influences; Observing from Life; Artistic Identity; Part III: Creative Writing Assignments; A Tale from Childhood; Family Story; A Myth, Legend, or Folktale Retold; Dream Story; Adapting a Short Story; News Story; A Documentary Subject; Thirty Minute Original Fiction; Feature Film; Part IV: The Emerging Writer; Revisiting Your Artistic Identity; Part V: Expanding your Work Into Its Final Form; Story-Editing Your Outline; Dramatic Conventions; Expanding Your Outline; Appendix; Index