Storytelling Tip

Even the best storytellers can occasionally get stuck trying to figure out how to structure their stories. TV writer Dan Harmon (the creator of “Community” and “Rick and Morty” among other notable work) found a way to conquer this creativity block by devising a handy tool that adapts the traditional hero’s journey framework. He believes this story progression will work in virtually every case, whether it’s a TV show or movie, a written piece or even a song. 

Here are the eight steps in Harmon’s story circle

  1. A character is in a zone of comfort, 
  2. But they want something. 
  3. They enter an unfamiliar situation, 
  4. Adapt to it, 
  5. Get what they wanted. 
  6. Pay a heavy price for it, 
  7. Then return to their familiar situation, 
  8. Having changed. 

As storytellers, it’s easy to get bogged down when we overthink what we want to say. Harmon’s tool creates an easy, reliable model for story structure. If you ever feel dissatisfied by the way your story is evolving, take a moment to consider whether applying this technique might help your piece flow better and reach a desirable conclusion.  

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