Ten Components Of Compelling Stories


Here are some storytelling tips from Michael Hauge:

  • SETTING – Draw the reader into the world of the story with vivid, succinct details which reflect the characters and tone of the story before writing important action or dialogue.
  • CHARACTERS – Convey the essence of each character with two or three descriptive details. The hero’s desire must drive the story in every scene. Other characters provide support, conflict, revelation and credibility. Omit anyone who isn’t necessary. Resolve the scene for every character.
  • DESIRE – Every character must want something. Desires should connect to or reflect outer motivation, longing or need.
  • CONFLICT – The bigger the obstacles, the greater the emotion. Desires must come in conflict with other characters or with the forces of nature. Create a continuous struggle among the characters for power and control.
  • STRUCTURE – Move the hero toward a visible finish line with key turning points at 10%, 25%, 50% and 75% and the climax. use anticipation, superior position, curiosity, surprise and time to maximize the emotion.
  • CHOREOGRAPHY – Move characters within the setting in a clear, logical way that advances both character arc and plot. Avoid scenes which simply look good.
  • CREDIBILITY – Characters must behave the way people with their backgrounds would normally behave in this situation. Employ foreshadowing to solve credibility problems.
  • DIALOGUE – Employ unique voices, subtext and silence to avoid announcing cliched or on-the-nose dialogue.
  • STYLE – Use simple, clear, vivid language that matches the pace and tone of the film. Proof read for format, spelling, grammar, punctuation and professional presentation. Then proof read it again.
  • TRANSFORMATION – Repeatedly reveal the tug of war between the hero’s protective persona (identity) and the hero’s potential (essence).
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