Dissecting Story

22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

The essential elements of a story.

One of the many experts on storytelling to have attempted in a book to describe the essential elements of a story is John Truby.

In The Anatomy of Story (2007), Truby identifies 22 steps in any protagonist’s narrative, which may play into four aspects of the story: character, plot, story world, and moral argument. Thankfully, Truby does not insist that every story must contain all 22 steps and follow the template strictly. He does, however, identify as critical that the story shows seven attributes of a main character and their storyline:

  1. Weakness and need
  2. Desire
  3. Opponent
  4. Plan
  5. Battle
  6. Self-revelation
  7. New equilibrium

By no means simplistic, Truby’s book is more concerned with the moral element of story – the ethical effect of character transformation on the audience – than with templates such as three-act structure.


Related function in the Beemgee story development tool:
Hero’s Journey, Story Beats, etc

 

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