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Story for
Screenwriting: Advanced Structure

The training

Find out why all successful stories share an underlying structure – and how to apply the principles to your own TV and film scripts.

  • Location: Online
  • Duration: 16 weeks
  • Skill level: All
  • Sessions: 7

This four month training will help you master the essential building blocks every successful story needs and develop an industry-standard treatment for your original TV, film or stage script.

Our professional development course is based on the techniques BAFTA-winning storyteller John Yorke developed to train new writing talent on the BBC Writers’ Academy scheme. Our alumni work on BAFTA, Oscar and Emmy award-winning shows.

You’ll work in a small group of dedicated screenwriters with an expert tutor. By the end, you’ll be able to look at any story and pinpoint why it’s not working, and how to fix it.

CPD certified

Our professional skills training has been independently accredited for integrity and quality. All learners receive certificates of completion detailing CPD learning hours.

NWN bursaries

New Writing North are offering 10 discounted bursary places on this course as part of the North of Tyne Cultural Skills Programme.

ScreenSkills bursaries

You may be eligible for a ScreenSkills training bursary for this course.

View ScreenSkills' bursary page

Our team

Meet the experts

John Yorke

Course Director

John is widely acknowledged as the UK’s foremost expert on story and Into the Woods is the bestselling book on the subject in the UK. John’s worked on some of the world’s most lucrative, widely viewed and critically acclaimed TV drama, from EastEnders to Shameless, Life on Mars and Wolf Hall.

More about John
Mark Catley

Mark Catley

Course Tutor

Mark is an award-winning writer for screen, playwright, script consultant and TV producer. He’s won BAFTAs for his work as a lead writer and Story Consultant for EastEnders (BBC) and as lead writer and executive producer for Casualty (BBC). His extensive writing credits include Call the Midwife (BBC, Series 2), My Mad Fat Diary (E4), and the Interceptor (BBC).

More about Mark
Craig Behenna

Craig Behenna

Course Tutor

Craig is a writer, producer, director and creative coach based in Australia. His work includes the production draft of Scarygirl, an animated feature based on the creations of graphic novelist Nathan Jurevicius, and feature thriller One Eyed Girl, which won the Austin Film Festival Dark Matters Jury Prize and sold to Netflix in the USA, Europe and Australia.

More about Craig

Mandy Byatt

Course Moderator

Mandy Byatt’s debut novel, Just Another Liar, was published by Avon Books in January 2022. She has been shortlisted in the Gransnet/HQ novel competition as well as longlisted in the Orange Pathé screenwriting competition. She was also a winner of a Radio 5 Live monologue competition.

More about Mandy

Things to know

Story for Screenwriting: Advanced Structure is for anyone who writes (or wants to write) drama for film or TV and would like to know more about how and why story principles work.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Write for TV, film, radio or stage – or would like to move into screenwriting from another form
  • Have an MA and would like to gain practical industry-level skills
  • Work as a screenwriter and would like a refresher on story structure
  • Are a team developing drama, and would like to share a common vocabulary of story
  • Would like to see the blueprint underlying all successful stories
  • Need to discover why your stories aren’t working – and how to fix them

This professional training allows you to:

  • Acquire the key technical skills screenwriters need
  • Understand story structure, including five-act structure
  • Gain greater understanding of industry expectations around commissioning and audience
  • Clearly identify and pursue your potential as a screenwriter
  • Master techniques to help diagnose and fix story problems
  • Get to grips with writing a professional standard treatment
  • Practise giving effective feedback to writers and receiving critical notes
  • Network with other writers, the tutor team and industry guests

Our training is taught 100% online in small groups with a designated tutor and moderator on-hand throughout. Each course is divided into sessions. These sessions are released one by one on a fortnightly basis.

There’s no need to log on at a set time. You can work through the learning materials whenever suits you, day or night, wherever you are in the world. Just allow 5-7 hours per session to complete the assignments and join forum discussions by the deadline.

Our teaching method is based on the science of active learning, where you’ll read, watch and practise exercises in your own time before submitting assignments for peer and tutor feedback. You’ll then review, share, reflect, and refine your work.

It’s both flexible and structured. Social and yet gives you space. You’ll emerge with an industry-standard toolset you can apply to real world projects and a new network of professionals you can trust. Find out more about how we teach.

Session 1: Introduction to Story (1)

You’ll start by learning the grammar of storytelling and the essential elements of a story, and experiment with summing up a protagonist’s wants and needs.

Session 2: Introduction to Story (2)

We build on the basic building blocks of the archetypal story, examining structural form in more detail. We’ll look at the inciting incident, the character’s journey and story endings.

Session 3: Essential Story Tools

This is about ‘breaking’ a story into its component parts to see whether it’s working as well as it could. By the end of this session you should be able to deconstruct any story and understand how to fix parts that don’t work.

Session 4: Five-Act Structure

We break down a story into five acts and look at why this is such an invaluable tool for dramatic storytellers. You’ll learn the art of identifying turning points and the midpoint, and rewrite a broken story in five parts.

Session 5: Building Stories

We introduce the basic building blocks of stories – scenes – and explain why you need to get inside characters’ heads to make them work. You’ll use that knowledge to plan an original story in five parts.

Session 6: Top Story Tips

This session offers simple tips that will inspire you to look at stories and scripts with a fresh eye. If you have a problem with a story, this session will provide the solution.

Session 7: Write Your Own Treatment

We look at the rules for writing a successful professional-standard treatment. Submit your treatment for an original idea and receive a detailed one-to-one feedback report from your tutor.

At the end of the course you’ll have everything you need, including expert feedback, to move onto our Story for Pitch Decks course, and prepare to pitch your idea at agents and commissioners.

ScreenSkills – This course has been made possible by the support of ScreenSkills, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme. You may be eligible for a training bursary for this course. Apply direct to ScreenSkills here, at least four weeks before the course start date.

New Writing North – If you’re a resident of Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland, you may be eligible for a bursary thanks to funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority. New Writing North are offering 10 discounted bursary places on this course as part of the North of Tyne Cultural Skills Programme. Apply direct to NWN.

As this counts as CPD training, you may also be able to get funding from your employer to do it.

See our full list of UK-based funding opportunities.

Join our alumni – After your course, you can join our online alumni community where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. You’ll be able to.

  • Rejoin your classmates in a private forum
  • Continue to access an archived version of your course materials
  • Meet alumni from other courses and share work for feedback
  • Join discussions about screenwriting, script editing and the industry
  • Attend live chats with guest writers and industry folk

Scribe Lounge Pro – As part of our partnership with Scribe Lounge, the UK’s fastest growing screenwriting network, you’ll also get two months of free Scribe Lounge Pro membership following your course.

Mentoring and one-to-one feedback – Our team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so please email [email protected].


Enter your email below to receive our full course prospectus and find out more.

How it Works

Our training’s taught 100% online in small groups with a designated tutor and moderator on-hand throughout.

It’s an active learning experience where you’ll read, watch and practise exercises in your own time before submitting assignments for peer and tutor feedback. You’ll then review and refine your work as you get better and better.

Fit the course around your work and time zone – just allow 5-7 hours a week to work through each session.

It’s both flexible and structured. Social and yet gives you space. Find out more about how we teach.

John Yorke teaching Storycon
Our Alumni

What people say


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