THE STRUCTURE OF A COMPELLING STORY

YOU

This is your introduction to the main character(s). An opportunity to see them before the story truly begins. This is also the time to understand the context around the character — their world, its rules, and how they fit inside it.

CHANGE

The change could be a personal one; it can be change to the world around them. It could be both. Sometimes the change has opposite effects, too. The world has changed for the better, but maybe the protagonist has changed for the worst.

NEED

Something happens to our character that presents a problem or a question. This is when the story starts to take shape — if “You” is the who of the story, “Need” is the what.

RETURN

The return stage is coming into the home stretch. The character has brought back into the normal realm whatever they found and took. Be it a magical item, a person, a lesson…and as a result of this they change.

GO

Needs drive us into action. The “Go” step marks the protagonist’s first steps across the threshold in pursuit of the need. Make your need so vital that it’s impossible not to go.

TAKE

Take whatever you found! And escape with it! BUT…

Even though the hero successfully acquires their Need, it comes at a price. Even after their initial success, the protagonist(s) suffers heavy losses.

SEARCH

Search is where things begin getting more complicated. A series of obstacles the hero must overcome. Things get complicated and more intense. This can also be a time of discovery and fun. But it won’t last…

FIND

Eureka! The hero has searched and searched, and now they’ve found the Need that sent them on this journey. But is the story over? Nope. Because in a good story, the hero doesn’t find what they need. They might have found what they wanted, but it turns out they need something else…

YOU

This is your introduction to the main character(s). An opportunity to see them before the story truly begins. This is also the time to understand the context around the character — their world, its rules, and how they fit inside it.

NEED

Something happens to our character that presents a problem or a question. This is when the story starts to take shape — if “You” is the who of the story, “Need” is the what.

GO

Needs drive us into action. The “Go” step marks the protagonist’s first steps across the threshold in pursuit of the need. Make their need so vital that it’s impossible not to go.

SEARCH

Search is where things begin getting more complicated; a series of obstacles the hero must overcome. Things get complicated and more intense. This can also be a time of discovery and fun. But it won’t last…

FIND

Eureka! The hero has searched and searched, and now they’ve found the Need that sent them on this journey. But is the story over? Nope. Because in a good story, the hero doesn’t find what they need. They might have found what they wanted, but it turns out they need something else…

TAKE

Take whatever you found! And escape with it! BUT…

Even though the hero successfully acquires their Need, it comes at a price. Even after their initial success, the protagonist(s) suffers heavy losses.

RETURN

The return stage is coming into the home stretch. The character has brought back into the normal realm whatever they found and took. Be it a magical item, a person, a lesson…and as a result of this, they change.

CHANGE

The change could be a personal one; it can be change to the world around them. It could be both. Sometimes the change has opposite effects, too. The world has changed for the better, but maybe the protagonist has changed for the worst.

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