Mar 02
William's picture

Intention and Obstacle

I wanted to share this piece of writing wisdom with everyone in the playwriting workshop, and everyone else at YWP as well. It is something I saw in the New York Times Magazine this past weekend, in a question-and-answer with screenwriter and dramatist Aaron Sorkin, known for "The West Wing," "The Social Network," his Broadway adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird," and many other works. He is asked a question about his storytelling approach, and he replies:

"I worship at the altar of intention and obstacle. Somebody wants something, and something is standing in their way of getting it. They want the money; they want the girl; they want to get to Philadelphia. Then the obstacle to that has to be formidable, and the tactics they use to overcome that obstacle are what shows us the character."

Later in the interview, Sorkin adds that often "the intention and the obstacle — the conflict — isn't about getting the money, getting the girl, getting to Philadelphia. The conflict is ideas."

Thanks to everyone who makes YWP a great community. Keep drawing, keep taking photographs, and keep writing!