Sign up for our Newsletter

The Last Screenwriting Tool You'll Ever Need: The Periodic Table of Storytelling

by ScreenCraft Staff on April 17, 2014

The writing community has been buzzing lately about this little jewel, which Screencraft unearthed last year and has recently risen back to prominence thanks a new interactive design of the same graphic.  

Personally, I am not a science guy. In fact, the very sight of a periodic table awakens instinctive urges to intercept my report card before it reaches my parents.  But graphic designer James Harris, through his web site Design Through Storytelling, has staged an epic collision of the left and right brains with this interactive Periodic Table of Storytelling. Replacing atomic numbers and electron configurations are the time-tested and proven elements of storytelling. Clicking each will take you to the TV Tropes wiki where you can dive into each and even see examples from all forms of media. I am tempted to label it NSFW because once you start in, there is very little chance you’ll get anything else done today.

Click the image below to check out the interactive version:


The folks at Deviant Art also offer a printed version for around $30, ready for hanging over your desk, either for inspiration, or to fool your mother into believing you have a real job now.

Labeled by Harris as the “spiritual sequel” to his periodic table, there is also a very slick graphic tour of 3-Act Structure and The Hero’s Journey, using The Hunger Games and Star Trek, respectively, as examples.

While the feat is entirely heroic (Sh, 1.3 kilowicks), I would love to see a version that allows multiple selections of elements, and then an example of what films might have been assembled using your “molecule,” similar to the examples given at the bottom of the table.

What do you think? Over-formulization of a creative medium or helpful tool? Let us know in the comments.

Guest post from screenwriter Nick Schober

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram