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Story check (All stories make a point)

From: Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story

Video: Story check (All stories make a point)

Here's a nifty checklist to help you zero in on what your story is actually about. First, what's your story's point? Ask yourself what is my story leading up to? What will people walk away thinking about? Remember, writers are the most powerful people in the world because they can change how others see the world. How will your story change your readers' worldview, even if only by a smidge? Second, what's your story's theme? Ask yourself what does my story say about human nature? The brain is wired to turn the story to make sense of the world, so we probe each story for useful information that will better help us understand what makes people tick? What's your story saying about what it means to be human? Third, do the protagonist's inner issue, the theme, and the plot work together to answer the story problem? The story problem will always be in the back of the reader's mind, so everything in the story must revolve around how it's solved.

Story check (All stories make a point)

Here's a nifty checklist to help you zero in on what your story is actually about. First, what's your story's point? Ask yourself what is my story leading up to? What will people walk away thinking about? Remember, writers are the most powerful people in the world because they can change how others see the world. How will your story change your readers' worldview, even if only by a smidge? Second, what's your story's theme? Ask yourself what does my story say about human nature? The brain is wired to turn the story to make sense of the world, so we probe each story for useful information that will better help us understand what makes people tick? What's your story saying about what it means to be human? Third, do the protagonist's inner issue, the theme, and the plot work together to answer the story problem? The story problem will always be in the back of the reader's mind, so everything in the story must revolve around how it's solved.

With that in mind, ask yourself is my theme reflected in the way people treat my protagonist? Does each plot twist force my protagonist to deal with the inner issue that's holding him back? Finally, can you sum up what your story is about in a short paragraph? Yeah, this is hard. There's an old saying that goes, if only I had more time, I could have written less. Take your time with this, because it's well worth it. If you can concisely sum up what your story will be about so that you are aware of what its point is, it would be far easier to write.

After all, since the story is about someone solving a problem, it's best to know precisely what that problem is before you begin writing. Now, see if you can sharpen your skills with the example from your exercise files. Dive into this set of events and give this story what it's missing, a point.

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This video is part of

Image for Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story
Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story

39 video lessons · 18923 viewers

Lisa Cron
Author

 
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  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

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