Some Interesting Concordances Between Modern Literature And The Golden Ratio

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
In summary: the highest Return-On-Investment films appear to follow fairly strongly the pattern of the Golden Ratio ... and from my brief experimentation, it looks like some of the more popular "breakout" novels do so as well.

I got interested after doing some reading at this very badly-organised website from a doctoral student named JV Velikovsky who's interested in how memes work and in particular how creativity works. Going in there is a bit like browsing old-school Wikipedia, you can very easily start one article, then link across to another article and find yourself getting pretty lost easily.

At first glance it looks like another standard massive Internet Wank about leftie, postmodernist interpretations of literature ... except you find fairly early on that Velikovsky actually doesn't believe in postmodernism. He's a very big believer in the concept of consilience, i.e. deep principles that underlie not just single bodies of science but multiple bodies of science. This idea is not new-age shit but is in fact fairly advanced, cutting-edge work being done in the science field: I've reviewed Edward Wilson's book on the subject here, and it was this website that turned me onto the idea. The point being: postmodernism is bullshit, because it doesn't reflect physical or biological reality. Human beings appear to be pre-programmed with certain underlying epigenetic rules that drive our behaviour, i.e. all the biological evidence seems to be pointing away from the idea since Freud et. al. that everything is just narratives and social constructs and pointing to the idea that there is, indeed, an underlying human nature which we tend to follow.

This is a very shallow and summary version of the concept, but Velikovsky and some elements of the creative industries -- particularly those interested in AI -- are looking at the epigenetic rules that underlie creativity. To wit: are there some testable, scientific rules that creativity follows, that determines whether human beings like a work and whether it becomes popular?

Velikovsky's doctoral dissertation - which is basically contained in the honeycomb of webpages at that site - is essentially that there is such a test. Velikovsky's idea was basically to find the highest return-on-investment (ROI) films of the 20th century and see what common features each of them had. ROI he defines as the movie's budget versus what its box office ultimately was. Per Velikovsky:

...the key hypothesis of this research is that these 20 films are the films that are the most popular (relative to their own budget), due to the story.

The reason this is due to the story is that, there are no other observable reasons that might explain their success: they (mostly) had small marketing budgets (at least initially, if not later), had no stars (A-list actors), and most (17 and arguably 18 out of 20, all except Star Wars – 1977 and ET – 1982) had no `name’ directors attached, etc.

The reason these are the most viral films, is that they are the most contagious memes, due to word-of-mouth. The reason they are the most contagious memes, is that they spread furthest through the culture due to / via word-of-mouth, when their final audience reach is compared to their production budget. (See Brian Boyd on `cost-benefit ratios’ in On The Origin of Stories, 2009)

Notably, other potential causes such as: aggressive marketing, star power and director marquee value are absent – as all except two of these films had none of those factors, to therefore explain their success in going so virulent in the culture.

The literature search reveals that no other existing screenwriting manual nor research paper yet published uses this empirical data set.
So what are the highest ROI (versus highest gross) films of the past 70 years?



Any investor should understand the implications of this list. If, as an investor, you had put up $1,000 to fund Paranormal Activity, you would have made back literally over a million percent. $1,000 into The Full Monty, you would have made seven thousand times your investment.

Shit, here's one of the biggest ironies of them all: George Lucas got a better ROI on American Graffiti than he did with Star Wars! By that metric, American Graffiti was the bigger success.

Compare that to the standard rule-of-thumb in Hollywood that a film has to make back three times its budget to be even considered a break-even, and 70% of Hollywood films don't do that even with massive budgets and big-name stars.

So what is it about these films that makes people turn out in their droves, what makes them viral? Velikovsky does note some common factors to them:

As part of the doctoral study findings, it should also be noted that these films are:

1) primarily low-budget (under USD$2m on average);

2) primarily independently-financed; (18 of the top 20 films)

3) all involve writer-hyphenates, (notably, 7 of the `bottom 20 ROI films’ do not) (My note: a "write-hyphenate" is Velikovsky's term for a writer-producer, writer-director, writer-X -- where the film's scriptwriter is intimately involved in the production, unlike standard Hollywood which tends to throw the scriptwriter out once the director has control of the film.)

4) all are `original screen ideas’ (none of the top 20 are sequels, nor adaptations).

Also note that none of the 20 films had large marketing budgets, nor stars, and only two had “name” directors attached. The above four (numbered) factors in combination (and, the latter three factors, by their absence) indicate that: the reason each of these films became so popular/viral was the film story, alone.

It is problematic that story is generally not described in the film-making/ screenwriting discourse (in any significant depth) as the sole controllable reason for a film’s success.

Preventing and delaying the solution of this problem is the situation that in the domain of film, other factors – such as marketing and `star power’ – are still seen by many as causal factors in a film’s success, although the most comprehensive and scientific study to date (De Vany 2004, p. 6) shows this widespread conception to be false.
In short: these stories struck a chord with more people across the world than anything else in Hollywood's history, in spite of every marketing trick, big name star, or massive SPFX budget that was thrown at them. It was the story, more than anything else, that guaranteed the story's reach.

On analysing these 20 films, Velikovsky found something stirringly beautiful about the structure underlying each. I want to emphasise again that these elements were derived scientifically - they were not just another recitation of the Three Act Structure or a conventional screenwriting manual (Velikovsky goes through pretty much every manual and model for screenwriting out there in the webpages and identifies what are consistent with his findings and what are not.). They were derived as a result of scientific and consilient experimentation.

You can sum up Velikovsky's insights in three images:







The spiral is the artistic representation of the Golden Ratio, but it illustrates the wider concept: each of these films' structure is the same and has the same elements to it ... because these elements are what pushes hardest out to audiences in the modern day.

Many of these elements are highly counterintuitive to things that are taught in screenwriting classes if not generally about what works in stories in the present day, but the data speaks for itself. I'll come back to this stuff in another post as the infodump is getting a bit long, but for the time being, go through what you remember of the ROI films and think about how these structures match.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
In passing, if you want to analyse what makes a movie a complete stinker - i.e. the lowest ROI films of the past 70 years - Velikovsky looked at them here. Perhaps one of the biggest risk factors he identified was that: the movie is a drama, as opposed to horror, comedy, action, of sci-fi. Above all, a drama is generally a depressing story - and people, as the ROI analysis indicates, do not want to watch depressing stories in the form of drama. (Also, the moment your budget gets above $2 million, it's a major risk factor for film failure). And most interestingly, the only films that get a higher gross as a result of an Oscar are dramas - all other genres are basically unaffected, which suggests the entire Oscar panoply of bullshit is mainly designed to prop up the drama genre to prevent it fading into oblivion.

Moving on.

Breaking down these insights, you can find most of the theory on this page.

#1 – Two-Part Structure – The story is in 2 `parts’: i.e. “Before”, when everything is `going well’; then disaster strikes; and the 2nd part is “After” – when everything goes badly for the hero/s due to `the disaster’. (Note the similarity to Aristotle’s 2-part structure of ancient Greek plays. Not that ancient Greek plays are movies.)

#2 – Villain Protagonist: the villain `acts first’, and “drives” the story – and the hero is constantly reacting to the villain’s actions (and/or their outright attacks on the hero/s).

#3 – Villain Triumphant – the Villain / `story-protagonist’ either: 1) wins (ie the hero either loses, or, dies), and/or 2) escapes justice, and/or 3) at the very least: escapes. (This is in 17/20, and arguably, all top 20 RoI films.)

#4 – No Character `Arcs’ – By the film story’s end the hero/s has not undergone a `transformational character arc’; if anything they are just even more like they were, at the start of the story.

#5 – The 3 Primal Themes – 1) Life & Death, 2) Family/Community, and 3) Justice/Revenge. In other words: all very “survival of the `fittest'”.

#6 – Present Day – the majority of the Top 20 RoI Films (17/20) are set in the Present Day (relative to when they were made). This is logical as period pieces and future stories are (usually) more expensive.

#7 – Temporally Linear – No `parallel narratives’ (like say Rashomon, or Pulp Fiction, or even reversed time like Memento, etc). As cinematically wonderful as those non-linear story structures are (I would suggest those three films are uncontested masterpieces) the structure of the top 20 ROI Films, is just plain: Linear. There are narrative ellipses (eg Starting with the Backstory: 30 Years Prior, as with Halloween and Friday The 13th), but otherwise the films are linear. The assumed exception is Primer but, as a time-travel story, it is actually linear.

#8 – A Love Story – This is not in all 20 (it is absent in The Blair Witch Project). But is in the majority (19 out of the 20). So include a love story in your High-ROI Film Story, if you wish – but it is clearly not essential for a Top 20 RoI Film.

#9 – Be a Writer-Hyphenate – all 20 of the top 20 RoI films, the Writer (and conceiver of the Story) was involved in production (as Director, Actor or Producer, etc), and, did not simply provide the Story/Screenplay and then `step aside’ during production/further story development. Note also how this also correlates with DK Simonton’s finding in the excellent Great Flicks (Simonton, 2011) – whereby, overwhelmingly, the writer-director is more successful in realizing a quality (award-winning) cinematic vision. (Is this an argument for auteur theory? Yes, but only in the case of Writer-hyphenates with this empirical Top 20 RoI study, and, in the case of Writer-Directors in Simonton’s empirical study. Classical auteur theory posits the director as the `Author’ of the film. Contrapositionally, this new knowledge positions the Writer-hyphenate as `the primary author’ of the Top 20 RoI Films.)

#10 – Use the StoryAlity Story Structure Syntagm – see below, for the 10-Act Story Structure in all 20 of the Top 20 RoI films. These 10 key ideas/memes/points above (including, the story structure below) can increase the statistical probability of your film going viral. (Note: Do they guarantee it? No. Luck and timing/Zeitgeist plays a part; and this largely cannot be controlled. However – these (memes, listed here) are: 10 things that can indeed be controlled, by a film storyteller/writer/director/creative producer.)
On the Act structure:

The following page count / screenplay structure applies to a 90-page screenplay.
(Note that 90 pages is the median-average length of the archetypal Top 20 RoI Film screenplay. i.e. 90 pages/minutes is itself an average of: both the `average’ and the `median’ length of the Top 20 RoI screenplays, when realized as a film.)
Act 1 – The First 1% of your screenplay – Page 1 (of 90 pages) – Showing the Hero(s) at home/work/base.
Act 2 – Ending at the 2% mark – Page 2 (of 90 pages) – An Ally Complains.

Act 3 – Ending at the 5% mark – Pages 3 to 4 (of 90 pages) – An Obstacle Appears.

Act 4 – Ending at the 8% mark – Pages 5 to 7 (of 90 pages) – Pursuit/The Chase.

Act 5 – Ending at the 14% mark – Pages 8 to 12 (of 90 pages) – The Shape Of Things To Come and The Thematic Dialog Line.

Act 6 – Ending at the 23% mark – Pages 13 to 20 (of 90 pages) – Trouble In Paradise.

Act 7 – Ending at the 38% mark – Pages 21 to 32 (of 90 pages) – Paradise Lost.

Act 8 – Ending at the 61% mark – Pages 33 to 53 (of 90 pages) – The Descent Into Hell.

Act 9 – Ending at the 85% mark – Pages 54 to 73 (of 90 pages) – The Battle Royale.

Act 10 – Ending at the 100% mark – Pages 74 to 90 (of 90 pages) – The Villain Triumphant.
Let's take, for example, Rocky, which falls at No. 6 on the list (all the other 19 top ROI films are on the same page above). We're going by what happens in the story minute by minute in the script (in scripts, 1 page is usually 1 minute of screen time):

ACT - % - STORY EVENT - BEAT

1 - 1 % - Rocky fights Spider Rico in the run-down boxing gym - The Hero at home/work/base
2 - 2 % - Rocky is head-butted by Spider Rico. - A female fight fan calls Rocky a “bum" - An Ally complains
3 - 5 % - Rocky shares some booze with the local hoboes - An obstacle appears
4 - 8 % - Rocky tries to court Adrian, she ignores his advances - Pursuit / “The Chase”
5 - 14 % - Rocky’s boxing gear has been cleared out from his old locker – and put on `Skid Row’. In the bar, Rocky says: “Hey, Andy, are you crazy? This man is champion of the world. He took his best shot and become champ. Huh? What shot did you ever take?” - The Shape of Things to Come & the Thematic Dialog / Dramatic Irony line
6 - 23 % - Apollo Creed decides to give a local fighter a fight - Trouble in Paradise
7 - 38 % - Adrian doesn’t understand why anyone would be a fighter, Rocky says you have to be a moron - Paradise Lost
8 - 61 % - Rocky gets furious at Paulie and pummels the beef carcass - The Descent into Hell
9 - 85 % - Creed ridicules America, the fight begins - The Battle Royale
10 - 100 % - Creed wins the fight, Rocky is beaten to a pulp - Villain Triumphant

Note, re: Act 5 – The Shape of Things to Come & the Thematic Dialog / Dramatic Irony line: Rocky’s line: “Hey, Andy, are you crazy? This man is champion of the world. He took his best shot and become champ. Huh? What shot did you ever take?” ironically foreshadows the events of Act 7 onwards: Rocky “takes his best shot”, although he ultimately loses the fight to Creed.
Two points:

(1) This is not to suggest Stallone was consciously following this sequence when writing the film. Again, the analysis is purely taking the data and seeing what conclusions can be drawn from the patterns in that data.
(2) There will be some looseness in the identification of beats, i.e. some interpretation of story events required. This form of scientific analysis is not the same as providing a physics-based equation, because not all facets of popularity can necessarily be controlled for. But story can: and when you look at the manner in which each of the top 20 films are analysed, the patterns are undeniable.

What does this have to do with novels?
Because I'm not interesting in screenwriting; notice it requires a budget and that the writer is intimately involved in the filmmaking process throughout for a movie to even stand a chance at getting onto that list.

A novel, on the other hand, requires no budget, is pretty much all the writer, and is purely story. The problem is that nobody will ever tell you exactly how much money a novel ever made; these figures are closely guarded. So I got to thinking: all right, since the issue is audience reach or "virality" of a story, why not look at a novelist's first novel, or their first successful novel that propelled them into the mainstream or turned them into a blockbuster success? Since many of the principles of story hold for both film and novels, could it be that a similar phenomenon exists in novels as well?

I'll get to the results next post. However, the books I decided to look at were these:

The Name of the Rose.
Dune.
The Da Vinci Code.
Jurassic Park.
Rising Sun.
Song of Kali (Dan Simmons' first book.)
First Blood.


I chose these because - bar Rising Sun which was just a book I liked - these novels all went on to "break out" the author into mainstream success or were turned into fairly successful films. Song of Kali hasn't, obviously, because it's too Red Pill on Indian racism for the MSM, but it was Dan Simmons' first book, the one that turned him into a successful horror/science fiction writer - I'll have to go back and analyse Hyperion one of these days to see if the pattern holds there as well.

I will say this, though, as an example of what I found: I went at looked at the first volume of George R R Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I broke the book down into the number of written pages (controlling as best I could for chapter headings and promo material at the front and back). As most of you will know, the first book ends with the birth of Daenerys's dragons. It's built up as the climax of the novel; Daenerys loses her human child so Drogo can "live", who she then murders and immolates in order to hatch her dragon eggs. The book ends on Danerys's dragons opening their mouths and screaming for the first time.

I turned to the page at which we hit the end of the 14% mark of the book (I will go back and run down the precise page numbers later.) Velikovsky calls this the "Shape of Things to Come/The Thematic Dialogue" story beat, i.e. you expect foreshadowing or some dialogue that speaks to the theme of the book in that region.

On that page, Ned Stark recalls Robert Baratheon's words on being presented with the bodies of the Targaryen children murdered by Gregor Clegane:

"I see no babes. Only dragonspawn."

I had a chill go through me. This book had been written in 1991, at least twenty years ahead of Velikovsky's research, and here I was staring at something that seemed to validate what he was saying.

I'll go through the other books in a later post, but -- in more than broad terms -- his propositions appear to play out for successful "make me into a famous novelist" books as well, when you start to break the books down according to the ratio.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
Let's start with Rising Sun.



Wikipedia plot summary for reference:

Nakamoto Corporation is celebrating the grand opening of its new headquarters, the Nakamoto Tower, in Downtown Los Angeles; the 45th floor of the building is awash with celebrities, dignitaries and local politicians. On the 46th floor, Cheryl Lynn Austin, 23, is found dead. Lieutenant Peter J. Smith, the Special Services Liaison for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), is assigned to the case. He is joined, on request, by retired Captain John Connor, who has lived in Japan and is well-acquainted with Japanese culture.

Upon arriving at Nakamoto Tower, the two policemen learn from officer-in-charge Tom Graham that the Japanese, led by Nakamoto employee Ishiguro, are stalling the investigation by demanding that the liaison be present. Although they have a valid pretense in that the virulently racist Graham is threatening to disrupt the celebration, it is obvious to Connor that a cover-up is underway. The detectives realize that the tapes from the security cameras on the 46th floor have mysteriously disappeared, and the security guards are deliberately unhelpful. Smith and Connor visit the apartment of the late Ms. Austin, realizing that she was a mistress for the Japanese Yakuza. It seems that Ms. Austin's home had been ransacked soon after her death. After several visits to friends and associates of Ms. Austin and Nakamoto, the two detectives find a suspect in Eddie Sakamura, a wealthy Japanese playboy from Kyoto. However, the two are inclined to release him, due to Eddie's previous associations with John Connor.

The two officers are summoned to witness Ms. Austin's autopsy; trace evidence strongly suggests a Japanese killer. Afterwards, Smith and Connor are approached by Ishiguro, who now presents them with seemingly authentic videos from the security cameras, which show Sakamura to be the murderer. Having solved the mystery, Connor returns home to rest, while Smith and Graham go to apprehend Sakamura. Upon arriving at Eddie's house, the two detectives are stalled by two naked women while Eddie escapes in a Ferrari. After a high-speed chase, Eddie's car crashes and bursts into flames, killing him.

The next day, the newspaper runs editorials criticizing Smith, Graham, and Connor’s actions as racist and accuses them of police brutality. Soon afterward, Smith receives a phone call from the Chief of Police, declaring the investigation officially over. Smith isn’t satisfied, and decides to take the tapes to the University of Southern California, in order to make copies. There, Smith meets Theresa Asakuma, a Japanese student who is an expert on computers and software manipulation. She is able to quickly point out that the tapes were indeed copies. After copying the tapes, Smith then picks up Connor after his golf game with several Japanese friends. On their way back to the USC labs, the two detectives are offered lucrative bribes from the Japanese, including a membership at an expensive golf club and extremely low-priced real estate offers. They visit and consult with companies and industries involved with Nakamoto, in order to learn more about the killer's motives. Along the way, they realize that they are only pawns in a much larger political and economic "war" between America and Japan, and how much the United States relies on Japan, which dominates the American electronics industry. Also, throughout the investigation, Connor educates Smith about the vast cultural differences between Japan and America, as well as the various underhanded business tactics Japan uses to maintain their technological edge over America.

Finally, they meet with U.S. Senator John Morton, a potential presidential candidate in the upcoming elections. They learn that Morton fiercely opposes the Japanese purchase of MicroCon, a small Silicon Valley company that manufactures machinery. At USC, Smith and Theresa deduce that Eddie had been set up by the Japanese who had altered the tapes. They undo the changes, discovering that Senator Morton was apparently the real killer and Eddie had been a witness. Connor and Smith return to Smith’s apartment, where they discover Eddie Sakamura, alive; the man who had actually been killed was a Japanese security officer named Tanaka who had been in Eddie’s garage, searching for the tapes, before panicking and fleeing in Eddie's car, which led to his death. The trio then confront Senator Morton, who confesses to his role in Cheryl Austin’s death. The senator then shoots himself in a bathroom. Soon afterward, an angry Ishiguro arrives to confront Eddie and the two detectives, making subtle threats to their lives. Strangely, Eddie reacts calmly, leading Connor to conclude afterward that Eddie still possesses an original copy of the tape from the security cameras. Smith and Connor then travel to Eddie’s home, where they find him tortured to death for the location of the stolen tape. Connor drops Smith off at his home.

Upon entering his apartment, Smith realizes that Eddie had left the tape there. Ishiguro's men arrive; he quickly orders his babysitter to hide his daughter and herself in the upstairs bedroom. Connor sneaks back to Smith’s apartment, carrying a bulletproof vest. The two detectives then engage in a gun battle with the thugs, and Smith is shot in the back, although his vest saves his life.

The next day, the two watch the tape that Eddie had left behind; Austin wasn't accidentally killed by Morton, but deliberately murdered by Ishiguro after Morton and Eddie left. They go to the Nakamoto Tower to apprehend Ishiguro during an important meeting; Conner radios the police dispatcher knowing that the Japanese are monitoring the frequency and will be prepared for the arrest. The detectives show the tape of the murder to the meeting attendees; when Ishiguro sees that the senior Japanese executives have all left the meeting room he commits suicide by jumping off the building. Having solved the mystery, Connor answers Smith’s questions before dropping him off at his apartment. The book then concludes with Smith’s statements about America’s future with Japan and the observation that no one seems to be taking the potential threats seriously.
My copy of the novel was 399 pages long, but the first 9 pages were filler and other material, leaving us with 390 pages of actual text, actual story. 390 pages leaves us with the following percentages:

1% = 3.9 pages into the novel
2% = 7.8 pages in.
5% = 19.5 pages in.
8% = 31.2 pages in.
14% = 42 pages in.
23% = 89.7 pages in.
38% = 148.2 pages in.
61% = 237.9 pages in.
85% = 331.5 pages in.
100% = 390 pages in, i.e. the end of the book.

Based on Velikovsky's hypothesis, then, the story beats should fall within the following page ranges:

Hero at Home: Pages 1 - 3.9
An Ally Complains: Pages 3.9 - 7.8
An Obstacle Appears: Pages 7.8 - 19.5
Pursuit/Chase: pages 19.5 - 31.2
Shape of Things to Come/Thematic Dialogue/Dramatic Irony Line: pages 31.2 - 41
Trouble in Paradise: pages 42 - 89.7
Paradise Lost: 89.7 - 148.2
Descent Into Hell: 148.2 - 237.9
Battle Royale: 237.9 - 331.5
Villain Triumphant: 331.5 - 390.

I went through the book and noted the following events came up, corresponding to those page numbers, putting the story beat afterward:

Pages 1 - 3.9: Peter J. Smith (protagonist) is, indeed, at home with his daughter when he's called. His problems with his wife and his job are described, and then he's called to the job at the Nakomoto tower. (Hero at Home.)

Pages 3.9 - 7.8: Lt. Graham complains about Japanese people. We are introduced to John Connor. Connor and Smith go to the Nakomoto Tower. (An Ally Complains.)

Pages 7.8 - 19.5: Smith and Connor encounter Senator Morton at the tower. The Japanese block Smith and Graham's investigation of the crime scene. Connor intervenes to smooth things over. (An Obstacle Appears.)

Pages 19.5 - 31.2: Smith and Connor run down leads, and investigate the murder scene; other leads emerge (Pursuit/The Chase)

Pages 31.2 - 42: Japanese domination of American economy and society is played up. They are protrayed as always one step ahead, bribing officials. Thematic dialogue: "We don't spend enough time observing the world, we don't know how things are." (Shape of Things to Come/Thematic Dialogue/Dramatic Irony Line)

Pages 42 - 89.7: Nakamoto's trade war with other corporations is revealed. Smith's problems with his wife are expanded on. In a scene at a hospital, the US versus the Japanese crime rate is discussed. Eddie Sakamura, one of Connor's friends, is identified on the tape as the killer. (Trouble in Paradise).

Pages 89.2 - 148.2: Eddie Sakamura appears to be killed. Discussion that "business is war", suggestions made the US is basically for sale. The Weasel is put on Smith's tail. Smith and Connor have interpersonal conflict. Smith's wife has a new partner. Discussions that videotapes aren't legal evidence, or that the day is coming when they're not legal. (Paradise Lost.)

Pages 148.2 - 237.2: Smith's ex-wife accuses him of sexual abuse of their daughter. Bob Richmond and Senator Morton are encountered. Peter's taking a bribe is revealed. Alterations of the videotape are revealed. Smith goes into a literal cavern below an ice-rink to discuss the case with Teresa. Graham is being pressured by the Japanese to drop the case. Eddie turns out to be alive and in possession of the unaltered tape. Smith confronts his wife. Line from Connor: "Things can get a lot more unpleasant from here, kohai." (Descent Into Hell)

Pages 237.9 - 331.5: Senator Morton reverses his stance on MicroCon and kills himself. Eddie Sakamura is killed for real this time. An attempt is made on Smith's life at his house. (The Battle Royale)

Pages 331.5 - 390: The videotape's true contents are revealed. Connor declares he wants to nail Ishiguro. Smith and Connor go to Nakomoto and reveal the killer, but Ishiguro kills himself, and Nakomoto goes unpunished. The entire incident is revealed as just Japanese companies feuding among themselves. America is still being sold out. Peter has the offer of a bribe to him withdrawn. It is hinted that Connor may have been doing a favour for his Japanese friends the whole time. Smith's final line is that he's uncertain about his daughter's future. (Villain Triumphant.)


Again, I accept some of this is entrail-reading, to which I'd say: go find the book and run through it for yourself. See if the events on the pages mentioned don't match the story beats Velikovsky identified (bearing in mind you're analysing the actual pages of the story rather than the pages including filler, so some of the page number calculations may be off in your edition.)

Moving onto other books.
 
Interesting stuff. I'm into the Golden Ratio with my financial markets research. I'm also writing a novel.

I think the pace and structure of novels and scripts is absolutely crucial. ANd its interesting how writers develop their own skeleton format. And how genres also develop their own. With Hollywood especially choosing certain formats repeatedly.

However, I think there's a potential limit to how far you can go with set formats. Literary novels don't tend to follow such a rigid structure. And they CAN be all the better for it. The danger is that if you follow a set system eg Hollywood's 9 Act Structure, you know when all the twists are going to be. Which can ofcourse detract from the experience.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
Onto the novel version of First Blood. 229 pages, therefore 1% = 2.29 pages, resulting in new "act" points at 2,29, 4.58, 11.45, 18.32, 32.06, 52.67, 87.02, 139.69, 194.65, and 229. One thing to note here was that David Morell wrote the book as having two protagonists: Rambo and the cop, Teasle.

Wikipedia plot summary for reference:

Rambo (no first name in the novel), a Vietnam War veteran, is hitchhiking in Madison, Kentucky and is picked up by Police Chief Wilfred Teasle and dropped off at the city limits. When Rambo repeatedly returns, Teasle finally arrests him and drives him to the station. He is charged with vagrancy and resisting arrest and is sentenced to 35 days in jail. Being trapped inside the cold, wet, small cells gives Rambo a flashback to his days as a POW in Vietnam, and he fights off the police as they attempt to cut his hair and shave him, beating one officer and slashing another with the straight razor. He flees, steals a motorcycle, and hides in the nearby mountains. He becomes the focus of a manhunt that results in the deaths of many police officers, civilians, and National Guardsmen.

In a climactic ending in the town where his conflict with Teasle began, Rambo is finally hunted down by special forces captain, Sam Trautman, and Teasle. Using his local knowledge, Teasle manages to surprise Rambo and shoots him in the chest, but is himself wounded in the stomach by a return shot. He then tries to pursue Rambo as he makes a final attempt to escape back out of the town. Both men are essentially dying by this point, but are driven by pride and a desire to justify their actions. Rambo, having found a spot he feels comfortable in, prepares to commit suicide by detonating a stick of dynamite against his body; however, he then sees Teasle following his trail and decides that it would be more honorable to continue fighting and be killed by Teasle's return fire.

Rambo fires at Teasle and, to his surprise and disappointment, hits him. For a moment he reflects on how he had missed his chance of a decent death, because he is now too weak to light the fuse to detonate the dynamite, but then suddenly feels the explosion he had expected—but in the head, not the stomach where the dynamite was placed. Rambo dies satisfied that he has come to a fitting end. Trautman returns to the dying Teasle and tells him that he has killed Rambo with his shotgun. Teasle relaxes, experiences a moment of affection for Rambo, and then dies succumbing to his wounds.
Pages 1 - 2.29 (The Hero At Home): Rambo is a drifter and gets picked up by Teasle. We get some brief images of the area.
Pages 2.29 - 4.58: (An Ally Complains): Rambo gets a meal in the local diner, a tiny bit of lettuce, which he complains about.
Pages 4.58 - 11.45 (An Obstacle Appears): Teasle realises Rambo isn't going to leave town. Rambo has another PTSD episode and "returns to the war". Rambo starts back into town.
Pages 11.45 - 18.32 (Pursuit/Chase): Rambo is arrested and charged. Imagery of Rambo being pushed, getting shaved, getting provoked, pursued into mental agony, preceding ...
Pages 18.32 - 32 (The Shape of Things to Come/Dramatic Irony/Thematic Dialogue Line): ... Rambo's escape form the police station. Lines of dialogue, driven by Rambo's memories: "That was the point of being a Green Beret (survival)." From his memories of Vietnam: "He lay in a stupor in his hole, mired in his excrement, hearing them talk about his foolishness."
Pages 32.06 - 52.67 (Trouble in Paradise): Orval argues with Teasle about the dogs though they'd been friendly and even enjoying the chase up to this point. Friction over the fact Tealse is separated from his wife. Rambo gets detected.
Pages 52.67 - 87.02: (Paradise Lost): Galt is killed. Men and dogs fall over the precipice. Rambo hurts himself getting down the cliff. Trautman first arrives to introduce himself.
Pages 87 - 139: (The Descent Into Hell) Rambo covers himself and hides in mud, almost drowning; he heads into the abandoned mine; through a cave full of bats and batshit, almost driven insane.
Pages 139 - 194: (The Battle Royale): Teasle confronts his wife. She still isn't coming home. Rambo comes up out of the mine and goes to war against the small town that Teasle is in.
Pages 194 - 229: (The Villain Triumphant): Rambo kills Teasle. Trautman kills Rambo. Rambo is lying in a hole thinking about his foolishness.

This doesn't neatly fit within the model - particularly at the "An Ally Complains" stage - but I suspect part of what obscures it is because Teasle and Rambo are competing protagonists rather than villain vs. hero as such. But it is notable that whichever one you choose as the protagonist, the villain still wins in the end: Rambo is killed by Trautman, who Morell said was deliberately allegorical for the US - i.e. the system wins. Teasle, too, is killed and therefore leaves Rambo triumphant: he doesn't get his wife back, and he doesn't get to apprehend Rambo.

The film is a lot less visceral and wrenching than the novel is, and I suspect this adherence to the model - unintentionally - is what causes it.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
BelyyTigr said:
Interesting stuff. I'm into the Golden Ratio with my financial markets research. I'm also writing a novel.

I think the pace and structure of novels and scripts is absolutely crucial. ANd its interesting how writers develop their own skeleton format. And how genres also develop their own. With Hollywood especially choosing certain formats repeatedly.

However, I think there's a potential limit to how far you can go with set formats. Literary novels don't tend to follow such a rigid structure. And they CAN be all the better for it. The danger is that if you follow a set system eg Hollywood's 9 Act Structure, you know when all the twists are going to be. Which can ofcourse detract from the experience.
Literary novels don't follow such a rigid structure, but at the same time literary novels are not a popular genre. The sales numbers and abject failure of most literary novels bear that out. Literary critics like to sneer at fantasy and sci-fi as the "ghetto", while ignoring that they live in a ghost town. Literary novels have their place, but they don't often have wide audience appeal -- and as a trader, you probably know: the market is always right. If a book has a wide audience appeal, it's touching on something that a lot of people are interested in or something that touches something deep in people at that place and time.

Rising Sun, I suspect, was firmly aimed by Crichton at picking up a movie adaptation for it. Crichton had a long TV/movie background before he wrote Rising Sun, and I like to analyse his work because he's pretty adept at finding a subject of public hysteria and then crafting a novel around it. Even so: as I'll later demonstrate, the novel of Jurassic Park does not closely follow this structure, which might explain why the film differs in several crucial ways from it. Crichton even wrote John Connor's character with Sean Connery specifically in mind, and it fairly tightly follows the model possibly as a result.

But here's the thing: those top 20 ROI films were all anything but Hollywood cookie-cutter jobs. No superhero movies, no conventional blockbusters except for Star Wars which more or less creates the blockbuster film. Most of them are wildly inventive and not conventional stories as such. They're all original franchises, no sequels. And they're almost all financed outside Hollywood.

What's most interesting about this model is that it is counterintuitive to the way screenwriting generally teaches stories be written, though what Velikovsky observes is that the model he's identified is consistent with, though not identical, some of the bigger canards like three-act structure and whatnot. Also, his research is focused on film. At this point I don't think my proposal - that the ratio carries across to successful books - is anything more than a hypothesis. I was just struck by the similarities when I started breaking down some of the more popular books in the same way Velikovksy breaks down films.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
And speaking of literary novels, why don't we look at one of the better ones, also a first novel, also something that was made into a film: The Name of the Rose. For this one it'll particularly help to have read the novel since some of the references may not have made sense otherwise.

The (miserably inadequate) Wikipedia summary of the plot:

Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Adso of Melk, a Benedictine novice travelling under his protection, arrive at a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to attend a theological disputation. Upon their coming, the monastery is disturbed by a suicide. As the story unfolds, several other monks die under mysterious circumstances. William is tasked by the monastery's abbot to investigate the deaths, and fresh clues with each murder victim lead William to dead ends and new clues. The protagonists explore a labyrinthine medieval library, discuss the subversive power of laughter, and come face to face with the Inquisition, a path that William had previously forsworn. William's innate curiosity and highly developed powers of logic and deduction provide the keys to unraveling the abbey's mysteries.
In my edition, the story turned out as 491 pages, thus, the following act stops: 4.91, 9.82, 24.55, 39.28, 68.74, 112.93, 186.58, 299.51, 417.35, 491.

Rounding the page numbers:
Pages 1 - 4.91: Adso, the narrator/protagonist and William of Baskerville are heading to the monastery. A description of the 13th century, wherein the novel is set (The Hero At Home.)
Pages 4.91 - 9.82: William gets his first words (at very close to page 9.82): "A rich abbey. The abbot likes a great display." (An Ally Complains)
Pages 9.82 - 24.55: The abbot requests that William investigate the murder of one of the monks ... and has information about the murder, but cannot say because it was given to him under the sacrament of confession (An Obstacle Appears)
Pages 24.55 - 39.28: William tracks down Salvatore in the abbey church, pursues and interrogates Salvatore regarding his involvement with Fra Dolcino, a heretical monk. (Pursuit/Chase)
Pages 39.28 - 68.73: Descriptions of heresy are given. Church politics are discussed - in particular, Ubertino and the Anti-Pope. The senses are discussed, and in particular, the sensual pleasure of lust, the seven deadly sins. The cellarer indicates there are secret texts held in the Aedificium (the library), and we go to the scriptorium of the monastery, where we meet Jorge. Laughter is briefly discussed. (The Shape of Things to Come/Dramatic Irony/Thematic Dialogue).
Pages 68.73 - 112.93: William argues with Jorge. A second murder takes place. There is an investigation, and it is revealed that improper things have been happening in the abbey (Trouble in Paradise.)
Pages 112.93 - 186.58: "An abbey is a place where monks are in conflict to gain control of the community." There is another conversation regarding laughter. It is revealed that followers of Fra Dolcino (a heretical friar) were taken in at the monastery after the movement was crushed. Salvatore tells his story of death. Adso enters the library and becomes lost. (Paradise Lost.)
Pages 186.58 - 299.51: Allegations of heresy ramp up. Political issues ratchet up: Bernard of Gui arrives. Adso breaks his vow of chastity and has sex. Another corpse is found. The library is characterised as a confounder of knowledge rather than a revealer of knowledge. (The Descent Into Hell)
Pages 299.51 - 417.35: The library's labyrinth is revisited. Adso overcomes his lust, but the girl he had sex with is burnt at the stake. There is a great political/theological argument at the monastery, which is lost by William. Severinus is killed. A monk is falsely convicted for the murders, for political reasons. Malachi is killed. Adso has a great dream. (The Battle Royale)
Pages 417.35 - 491: The dream is explained. The abbey and the library are burned. The abbot is murdered. Jorge kills himself on the heretical text on laughter. "Because of excess virtue, the forces of hell prevail." The text of Aristotle on Comedy is lost, forever. William dies in the plague some years later, the monastery falls into ruins. (The Villain Triumphant.)

This was one of the analyses that really surprised me. As said, The Name of the Rose is not a genre novel, it's intended audience was literary and its author a major historian who was not writing for Hollywood. And yet it appears in a major way to follow the model, entirely unintentionally.
 

Thomas the Rhymer

Ostrich
Gold Member
Act 1 – The First 1% of your screenplay – Page 1 (of 90 pages) – Showing the Hero(s) at home/work/base.
Act 2 – Ending at the 2% mark – Page 2 (of 90 pages) – An Ally Complains.

Act 3 – Ending at the 5% mark – Pages 3 to 4 (of 90 pages) – An Obstacle Appears.

Act 4 – Ending at the 8% mark – Pages 5 to 7 (of 90 pages) – Pursuit/The Chase.

Act 5 – Ending at the 14% mark – Pages 8 to 12 (of 90 pages) – The Shape Of Things To Come and The Thematic Dialog Line.

Act 6 – Ending at the 23% mark – Pages 13 to 20 (of 90 pages) – Trouble In Paradise.

Act 7 – Ending at the 38% mark – Pages 21 to 32 (of 90 pages) – Paradise Lost.

Act 8 – Ending at the 61% mark – Pages 33 to 53 (of 90 pages) – The Descent Into Hell.

Act 9 – Ending at the 85% mark – Pages 54 to 73 (of 90 pages) – The Battle Royale.

Act 10 – Ending at the 100% mark – Pages 74 to 90 (of 90 pages) – The Villain Triumphant.
This is the basic plotline of every He-man episode (the 80's version).

Example, taken from the He-man episode The Problem with Power:
Prince Adam is hanging out in the palace (Hero at Home)
Man-at-Arms comes in saying that Skeletor is building some strange structure (Ally complains)
On investigation, it turns out the structure is a trans-dimensional gate being built by people enslaved by Skeletor (Obstacle appears)
Prince Adam turns to He-man, confronts and chases Skeletor; Skeletor ensures that there is an illusion spell activated in the fight (The chase)
The gate topples. He-man thinks he has killed people in the fight, but it was only an illusion. (The shape of things to come)
Broken by the guilt of killing people, He-man throws his sword away into a chasm, vowing to never use his power again (Trouble in Paradise)
Orko reveals to He-man that it was all a trick by Skeletor. But the sword is gone, and with it, He-man's power. (Paradise lost)
He-man descends into the chasm to retrieve his sword, having to deal with horrific creatures of the deep. (Descent into hell)
Retrieving the Sword of Power, He-man confronts Skeletor's army of goblins. (Battle royale)
He-man wins but Skeletor gets away, surely to come up with a new evil scheme by the next episode of He-man : Masters of the Universe. (Villain escapes)
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
Thomas the Rhymer said:
Act 1 – The First 1% of your screenplay – Page 1 (of 90 pages) – Showing the Hero(s) at home/work/base.
Act 2 – Ending at the 2% mark – Page 2 (of 90 pages) – An Ally Complains.

Act 3 – Ending at the 5% mark – Pages 3 to 4 (of 90 pages) – An Obstacle Appears.

Act 4 – Ending at the 8% mark – Pages 5 to 7 (of 90 pages) – Pursuit/The Chase.

Act 5 – Ending at the 14% mark – Pages 8 to 12 (of 90 pages) – The Shape Of Things To Come and The Thematic Dialog Line.

Act 6 – Ending at the 23% mark – Pages 13 to 20 (of 90 pages) – Trouble In Paradise.

Act 7 – Ending at the 38% mark – Pages 21 to 32 (of 90 pages) – Paradise Lost.

Act 8 – Ending at the 61% mark – Pages 33 to 53 (of 90 pages) – The Descent Into Hell.

Act 9 – Ending at the 85% mark – Pages 54 to 73 (of 90 pages) – The Battle Royale.

Act 10 – Ending at the 100% mark – Pages 74 to 90 (of 90 pages) – The Villain Triumphant.
This is the basic plotline of every He-man episode (the 80's version).

Example, taken from the He-man episode The Problem with Power:
Prince Adam is hanging out in the palace (Hero at Home)
Man-at-Arms comes in saying that Skeletor is building some strange structure (Ally complains)
On investigation, it turns out the structure is a trans-dimensional gate being built by people enslaved by Skeletor (Obstacle appears)
Prince Adam turns to He-man, confronts and chases Skeletor; Skeletor ensures that there is an illusion spell activated in the fight (The chase)
The gate topples. He-man thinks he has killed people in the fight, but it was only an illusion. (The shape of things to come)
Broken by the guilt of killing people, He-man throws his sword away into a chasm, vowing to never use his power again (Trouble in Paradise)
Orko reveals to He-man that it was all a trick by Skeletor. But the sword is gone, and with it, He-man's power. (Paradise lost)
He-man descends into the chasm to retrieve his sword, having to deal with horrific creatures of the deep. (Descent into hell)
Retrieving the Sword of Power, He-man confronts Skeletor's army of goblins. (Battle royale)
He-man wins but Skeletor gets away, surely to come up with a new evil scheme by the next episode of He-man : Masters of the Universe. (Villain escapes)
He-Man episodes were half-hour, right? Would be interesting to see how close these story beats stick to the timing Velikovsky observes...
 
This all valuable info for investors in independent movies, but the big mainstream ones are meant to indoctrinate first, cover costs second, make profit third.

Successful storylines are disrupted and destroyed, because they run counter to the Diversity consultants and church of Feminism bitches that were hired to do just that.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
Continuing on with the analyses I did, let's look at Dune. My edition had actual story (I excluded the monstrous appendices; I treat these as verisimilitude to a story rather than story themselves) from pages 13 - 562, thus, 549 pages, thus new acts predicted at 5.49, 10.98, 27.45, 43.92, 76.86, 126.27, 208.62, 334.89, and 466.65.

How major events in the book break down:

Pages 1 - 5.49 (The Hero at Home): Paul is at home on Caladan, though briefly given the Atreides are moving to Arrakis. Reverend Mother Mohiam arrives and begins the Test of the Box.
Pages 5.49 - 10.98 (An Ally Complains): The Test is administered. Paul's mother complains about the test being administered at all; Mohiam complains about Paul's cockiness.
Pages 10.98 - 27.45: (An Obstacle Appears): We meet the Harkonnens. The existences of a conspiracy against the Atreides and a traitor appear. Paul fears for his father.
Pages 27.45 - 43.92: (Pursuit/The Chase): We are introduced to Gurney, Thufir, and Duncan. Paul trains with Gurney; Paul is fooled momentarily into thinking Gurney is a traitor. Yueh provides Paul with the OC Catholic Bible his wife had. Paul is awaiting his father.
Pages 43.92 - 76.86: (Shape of Things to Come/Thematic Dialogue/Dramatic Irony): Paul's discussion with his father is in this span of pages. "He who controls the spice, controls the universe." The line first appears here. "The Fremen are the key." The first mention of Paul's "terrible purpose" is here. The family arrives on Arrakis. We have the scenes between Jessica and Yueh; and here we first see the water garden of Arrakeen Palace (expressed as a sort of garden of Eden on Arrakis). The hunter-seeker scene is in this span as well.
Pages 76.86 - 126.27 (Trouble in Paradise): Paul crashes into the water garden (a paradise!), interrupting his mother, immersing the hunterseeker. Harkonnen sabotage is detected; the war planning scene with Paul's father and his men; Paul thinks his father was disturbed. Leto forces Paul to memorise a message for his mother, that he never suspected her of being the traitor whose existence is known. We have our first encounter with Liet-Kynes.
Pages 126.27 - 208.62 (Paradise Lost): The first scene of the worm swallowing the spice miner. Duncan Idaho gets drunk and accuses Jessica of being a Harkonnen spy. Thufir Hawat and Jessica's relationship is destroyed. The Harkonnens attack, the Atreides are destroyed. Paul and his mother are on an ornithopter heading into the dust storm.
Pages 208.62 - 334.89 (Descent Into Hell): (This begins the second part of the book: Muad'dib.) Paul and Jessica escape the Harkonnens, crash their ornithopter, escape the worm, encounter the Fremen. Duncan is killed, Thufir enslaved, Halleck despairs and becomes a rogue. At 334.89, the duel between Jamis and Paul is about to begin.
Pages 334.89 - 466.65 (The Battle Royale): Paul kills Jamis. (The third part of the book, The Prophet, begins here.) Paul leads the insurrection against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, eventually forcing the Emperor to come, but his prophetic visions are fading, and he senses he can't stop the oncoming jihad when the Fremen leave Arrakis. Eventually, he rides the sandworm, and gets Gurney Halleck back.
Pages 466.65 - 549 (The Villain Triumphant): The Sardaukar raid Arrakis. Paul takes the Water Of Life (and understands the jihad he sees in the future can't be stopped.) Paul manipulates the Fremen to assault Arrakeen. Paul fights the Emperor and Feyd. Paul's baby son is killed. He is forced to leave Chani a concubine so he can ascend to the throne. Paul assumes the Imperial throne knowing the Fremen will cause tremendous death and suffering once they spread across the universe. Although he has triumphed in a secular way, he feels he has failed to bring about the future he wished to avoid, and he also indicates Arrakis will have places for growing things.


About the only part of Dune that I found didn't clearly match the model was the Pursuit/Chase sequence, and within that we have Gurney Halleck pursuing Paul and baiting him into fighting properly.

Insofar as Dune has an antagonist, though, one thing this analysis did lead me to realise was that it's not the Atreides against the Harkonnens; the real antagonist of the book is humanity's own genetic drives, which Paul is fighting against throughout; he is fighting humanity's inborn, genetic need for a massive spread and reseeding of its gene pool which has come ab out because the Imperium has generated a stale, rigid society for several thousand years or so. I had a fleeting thought that Paul assuming the Imperial throne is actually a mental model of maturation: the superego, the carrier of morals, obedience to law and so on, sits atop and restrains the mind's id, the primal, emotion-driven part of consciousness. But that's outside the scope here.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
On to a massive blockbuster hit, The Da Vinci Code, which essentially plagiarised Holy Blood, Holy Grail. My edition had 576 pages, thus, expected acts at 5.76, 11.52, 28.80, 46.08, 80.64, 132.48, 21.888, 351.36, and 489.60.

Pages 1 - 5.76 (The Hero At Home): I included the prologue in which Sauniere is murdered. But in this spread of pages we do first encounter Robert Langdon, the hero, waking up in his hotel rom.
Pages 5.76 - 11.52: (An Ally Complains): Langdon's sleep is interrupted by a police officer who calls him to the Louvre.
Pages 11.52 - 28.80: (An Obstacle Appears): Fache, an unhelpful cop arrives, who believes Sauniere was a devil-worshipper. "Nobody enters without Fache's blessing." We discover Langdon has claustrophobia.
Pages 28.80 - 46.08: (Pursuit/Chase): Cardinal Aringarosa becomes involved. We reach Sauniere's body, and the investigation of the death begins.
Pages 46.08 - 80.64: (Shape of Things To Come/Thematic Dialogue/Dramatic Irony): The Fibonacci sequence is referred to, as is our first deep delve into codes. Sophie Neuveu is introduced. "Use of a house of God to conceal a keystone." "Women's intuition."
Pages 80.64 - 132.48: (Trouble in Paradise): Fache reveals he thinks Langdon is Sauniere's murderer. Langdon and Neuveu escape the holding area they were in.
Pages 132.48 - 218.88: (Paradise Lost): Sophie regrets the bad relationship she had with her grandfather. Sister Sandrine is killed. Langdon and Sophie flee the Louvre, head across Paris. The Grail is first mentioned. Sauniere is revealed as a member of the Priory of Sion.
Pages 218.88 - 351.36: (Descent Into Hell): We meet Leigh Teabing. The discussion around Mary Magdalen, rewriting history, validating conspiracy theory. Silas catches up with them.
Pages 351.36 - 489.60 (Battle Royale): Teabing kills Remy, steals the cryptex. A race across the world to find the Grail's hiding place.
Pages 489.60 - 576 (Villain Triumphant): Teabing is revealed as the antagonist and dies. Silas is dying. Aringarosa is defeated. Sophie reclaims her family, is revealed as the scion of Christ's bloodlines. The Grail itself is not found and Langdon never sees it; there is only a guess that it lies, beyond his reach, below the inversee pyramid in the Louvre.


Some issues here.
 

Tytalus

Pelican
Have you read "The Bestseller Code"?

They have a chapter on the ups and downs of novels. The Da Vinci code features heavily in that book.
 

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
I haven't read it but the research sounds interesting. Either way, I've put the results of The Da Vinci Code up because it's important to put up your not-quite or absolutely-not results as well. To my analysis, Code only broadly fits within the model. I'm not going to try and reason my way out of that one, or it might be I missed crucial stuff that would fit within those beats.

It might well be that Code was successful for other reasons; can't exclude anti-Catholic hatred and the fact the book puts women (who read a lot more than men do) front and centre of Christianity, more or less sidelining Christ himself and pronouncing Mary Magdalen of a royal bloodline and all that.

But I also can't deny Code is a successful book because it is sheer pace and page-turning. Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, or tries to. It gets away with most of its historical bullshit because of the author's solemn foreword that "99% of everything in the book is true." Which it isn't, right down to basic geography, but you can't deny the book's pacing or the fact it is written with such apparent authority by Brown that it just whirls you with it.
 
I dunno bro, some of these seem a bit out there in trying to make it fit.

I can only agree though that who ever is making films today clearly haven't a clue about either the golden ratio or storytelling.
 
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