What is Story?
Story is life.
A microcosm of our reality, communicating our experiences within that reality, to others.
Fundamentally, our psychology is built to understand the world via story. Specifically. Because of this basic truth, stories are how we teach and how we learn.
Story is how we make sense of the world around us.
We use stories to connect, to challenge, to stimulate, and entertain. The best stories do all of these things simultaneously, and more.
To study story is to study life itself. Psychology, philosophy, morality, human behavior – everything.
This will be the center of our study here in this series. The study… of everything.
Fundamentally, a story has two main elements:
“Juice” and “Rock.”
What are those?
It’s the creative ingenuity of a story.
The fluid inspiration, energy, and intuition that permeates your story. It’s the life blood.
We’ll get into the “juice” side of things much later. For now, we’ll be diving into…
It’s the inherent structure that a story is built around.
A building needs load bearing walls, a body needs a skeleton, and a story needs its ROCK elements. The pieces that make all the other work possible.
- Inspiration and Skill.
- Art and Structure.
- “Juice” and “Rock.”
Let’s first take a look at crushin’ that “rock.”
Broadly speaking, there are three “types” of stories to concern ourselves with.
There are three general “forms” your story can take:
“Long form” storytelling is when a story is told over multiple volumes. Such as a television series, a book series, or a film series.
There are many CHUNKS of story, that all aggregate into an overall whole.
Long form storytelling follows a “seven season” structure.
Now the term “season” is borrowed here from television, but the idea relates to any kind of serialized storytelling:
Seasons of a TV show, books in a novel series, movies in a film franchise.
Any story that is intended to be broken into separate volumes, or what we’ll call “seasons,” is considered “long form” and will follow the seven season structure.
We’ll get into the details of the seven season structure as we move forward.
To jump straight to the seven seasons now, click here.
A “short form” story is a story told as a single piece. A novel, a film, a book, a play.
It’s a stand-alone story, that is not meant to be continued. It can be continued in a sequel. But it’s originally constructed as a single piece unto itself, with a definitive ending.
“Short form” storytelling follows a structure we’ll call “cubbies.”
The “cubbies” refer to the fifteen different elements that make up a well constructed short form story. All the pieces you NEED to have.
We’ll be covering the cubbies in detail very soon, but to jump straight to it all now – click here.
“Mini form” storytelling is when a story is told as a single mini section, or slice, of a larger story. Such as a single episode of a TV series, or a chapter in a book, or a single scene in a movie.
Mini form storytelling uses an “episodic three phase” structure.
“Episodic three phase” refers to the three basic phases that an episode progresses through.
Here again we borrow the term “episode” from television. But the term simply refers to any small slice of an overall story.
We’ll get into the deets a little later, but to jump straight to “episodic three phase,” click here.
To understand the rock of long form stories, you’ve got to understand the “seven seasons.”
To understand the rock of short form stories, you’ve got to understand the “cubbies.”
To understand the rock of mini form stories, you’ve got to understand the “episodic three phase.”
These structures, and all of their elements, will be our main focus for the foreseeable future.
Settle in, there’s a lot to cover.