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Subtleties can make the difference between a good story and a great one.

Updated: May 16, 2021

Recently, I fell into a YouTube rabbit hole. I started out by looking for info on the Friends reunion on HBO Max, but then I segued to a clip of the upcoming animated TV show, The Prince, based on Gary Janetti's Instagram hilarious imagined musings about a smug, snarky Prince George—

Which, somehow, brought me to James Woodall's marvelous analysis of the novel and film versions of The Devil Wears Prada. (See above.)

It was worth the diversion from my writing because it gave me a checklist of items to gauge if the characters as well as the narrative of my current work-in-progress was everything I'd hoped it could be.

Woodall's takeaway was spot on: whereas the movie follows the book's scene and catchy dialogue aptly, the motives of the protagonist, Andy (played in the move by Anne Hathaway) are strengthened in the film version.

Woodall's rationale, can be summed up by this—his—great one-liner: "Book Andy is tortured by the Devil. Film Andy makes a deal with her."

By changing the protagonist's motivation to do more than "take this job and shove it"—by making her realize she has a great opportunity and do her best to succeed at it—she is given more to lose, without going away a loser.

By hanging in with a boss she detests, is what she gains worth it?

Both Book Andy and Film Andy come to the same conclusion, but for different reasons.

Another great point from Mr. Woodall, and I quote:

"When you have a strong idea at the heart of a project as well as a team of talented artists who share that idea, it will appear in the finer details just as much as the broad strokes. Sometimes, it is the small thing that makes the big thing: subtleties that influence you in almost unnoticeable ways can be the difference between a good story and a great one."

Bravo, Mr. Woodall.

You will find him on YouTube but also Twitter and Patreon.

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