Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story

Explanation (All stories make a point)


From:

Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story

with Lisa Cron

Video: Explanation (All stories make a point)

All stories make a point beginning on Page 1, which means the reader needs to have an idea of what that point is from the get-go. It's like when your friend is rambling on about something that happened yesterday, and you nod and smile politely while a little voice in your head screams, okay, okay, but what's your point? Same with a story. If you zero in on your point before you begin writing, not only will your story be easier to craft, but you'll spend less time rewriting. If you know what your story's point is, it allows you to filter out everything that's irrelevant.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 45s
    2. How to use this course
      55s
  2. 9m 38s
    1. Explanation (What is a story?)
      3m 34s
    2. Example (What is a story?)
      4m 14s
    3. Story check (What is a story?)
      1m 50s
  3. 8m 46s
    1. Explanation (Hooking your reader)
      3m 51s
    2. Example (Hooking your reader)
      3m 19s
    3. Story check (Hooking your reader)
      1m 36s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Explanation (All stories make a point)
      2m 56s
    2. Example (All stories make a point)
      3m 54s
    3. Story check (All stories make a point)
      2m 1s
  5. 9m 33s
    1. Explanation (Feeling what the protagonist feels)
      3m 43s
    2. Example (Feeling what the protagonist feels)
      3m 19s
    3. Story check (Feeling what the protagonist feels)
      2m 31s
  6. 7m 6s
    1. Explanation (All protagonists have a goal)
      2m 36s
    2. Example (All protagonists have a goal)
      3m 9s
    3. Story check (All protagonists have a goal)
      1m 21s
  7. 7m 37s
    1. Explanation (Uncovering your protagonist's inner issue)
      2m 53s
    2. Example (Uncovering your protagonist's inner issue)
      2m 27s
    3. Story check (Uncovering your protagonist's inner issue)
      2m 17s
  8. 9m 58s
    1. Explanation (Being specific rather than vague)
      4m 51s
    2. Example (Being specific rather than vague)
      3m 33s
    3. Story check (Being specific rather than vague)
      1m 34s
  9. 9m 3s
    1. Explanation (Suspense and conflict)
      3m 29s
    2. Example (Suspense and conflict)
      4m 6s
    3. Story check (Suspense and conflict)
      1m 28s
  10. 10m 35s
    1. Explanation (Cause and effect)
      4m 0s
    2. Example (Cause and effect)
      4m 16s
    3. Story check (Cause and effect)
      2m 19s
  11. 11m 50s
    1. Explanation (What can go wrong, must)
      4m 42s
    2. Example (What can go wrong, must)
      5m 0s
    3. Story check (What can go wrong, must)
      2m 8s
  12. 10m 59s
    1. Explanation (Setups, payoffs, and the clues in between)
      4m 19s
    2. Example (Setups, payoffs, and the clues in between)
      5m 6s
    3. Story check (Setups, payoffs, and the clues in between)
      1m 34s
  13. 11m 7s
    1. Explanation (Flashbacks, subplots, and foreshadowing)
      4m 56s
    2. Example (Flashbacks, subplots, and foreshadowing)
      4m 20s
    3. Story check (Flashbacks, subplots, and foreshadowing)
      1m 51s
  14. 1m 49s
    1. Next steps
      1m 49s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story
1h 59m Beginner Jan 31, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Lisa Cron digs into the craft of writing a compelling story based on what the brain is wired to respond to in every story we hear. Whether you're writing a story from scratch, or revising your story for the umpteenth time, this course offers practical how-to advice, then illustrates it using before-and-after examples. Discover how to craft a first page, zero in on your story's point, create empathy, find a character's secret goals and inner issues, translate generics into specifics, write for suspense, create cause-and-effect connections, build momentum and tension, and deftly implement setups, payoffs, flashbacks, subplots, and foreshadowing.

Topics include:
  • What is a story?
  • Hooking your reader
  • Feeling what the protagonist feels
  • Being specific
  • Creating suspense and conflict
  • Writing flashbacks and subplots
Subjects:
Business Collaboration Presentations Business Skills Writing Communication
Author:
Lisa Cron

Explanation (All stories make a point)

All stories make a point beginning on Page 1, which means the reader needs to have an idea of what that point is from the get-go. It's like when your friend is rambling on about something that happened yesterday, and you nod and smile politely while a little voice in your head screams, okay, okay, but what's your point? Same with a story. If you zero in on your point before you begin writing, not only will your story be easier to craft, but you'll spend less time rewriting. If you know what your story's point is, it allows you to filter out everything that's irrelevant.

This is crucial because as far as the reader is concerned, everything in a story is there strictly on a need-to-know basis. If they didn't need to know it, you wouldn't bother telling them about it. They assume that everything you tell them will have a story consequence. So, if you include things they don't need to know, they are going to read meaning into it anyway, and it will inherently be the wrong meaning, since there isn't a right one, which means pretty soon your story will stop making sense. That's why knowing your story's point is one of the most important things to pin down before you begin writing.

Without a point, a story isn't about anything. It's just a bunch of things that happen. I can't tell you how many manuscripts I have read where if someone asks me, what's it about? I'd say it's about 300 pages, I have no idea. So, how do you zero in on your point? By focusing on three essential elements that together are the foundation that a story is built on? First, the Theme. Theme, I know can seem intimidating, but it actually boils down to something very simple.

What are you saying about human nature? In other words, the theme defines how the characters will treat each other. It's interesting to note that the theme sets the story's tone, and the tone sets the reader's mood. For instance, in a lighthearted romantic comedy, tone is bright and sunny, and we know that love not only can save the day, but it actually will. In a more Realistic universe, the tone is a little grittier, and although there will be genuine misunderstandings between the characters, love will be worth it, probably.

Second, your protagonist's inner issue, which is an internal conflict or belief that holding him back and that he must deal with and overcome in order to achieve his goal. Third is the Plot, that is the escalating cause-and-effect progression of external events constructed to force your protagonist to deal with his inner issue if he wants to solve the story problem. Once you have pinpointed your story's theme and your protagonist's inner issue, you can craft a plot that will make your story's point.

Let's explore this a little further by seeing how it works in action in the next movie.

There are currently no FAQs about Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked