Shape Your Story: Simple Story Structure for Fiction and Nonfiction | Amy Stewart | Skillshare

Shape Your Story: Simple Story Structure for Fiction and Nonfiction

Amy Stewart, Writer & artist

Shape Your Story: Simple Story Structure for Fiction and Nonfiction

Amy Stewart, Writer & artist

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
14 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Intro: Shape Your Story

    • 2. Your Project

    • 3. What About True Stories?

    • 4. But My Story Doesn’t Fit the Mold!

    • 5. Chart the Emotional Journey

    • 6. Aristotle's Incline

    • 7. 81 Index Cards

    • 8. Opening & Closing Images

    • 9. Six Things to Fix

    • 10. Fun & Games

    • 11. But/Therefore

    • 12. Two Ideas from Hamilton

    • 13. More Tips for Nonfiction Authors

    • 14. Final Thoughts

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Every writer has their own approach to shaping their stories. In this class, I'll teach you the storytelling methods that I rely on for every book I write, and I'll use real-world examples from well-known books, as well as from students in my own workshops. At the end of this class, you'll have your own storytelling toolkit to help you shape your story, whether it's fiction, nonfiction, or memoir.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Amy Stewart

Writer & artist



Welcome! For the last twenty years, I've devoted my life to making art and writing books. It gives me great joy to share what I've learned with you. 

I love talking to writers and artists, and bonding over the creative process. I started teaching so that I can  inspire others to take the leap. 

I believe that drawing, painting, and writing are all teachable skills. Forget about talent--it doesn't exist, and you don't need it. With some quality instruction and lots of practice, any of us can make meaningful, honest, and unique art and literature.

I'm the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books. When I'm not writing or traveling on book tour, I'm painting and drawing in ink, watercolor, gouache, and oil. Come f... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Intro: Shape Your Story: Hi, I'm Amy Stewart. I'm the author of over a dozen books, including memoirs, reported nonfiction, Natural History and Fiction. Now what all of these books have in common is an element of storytelling. You know, a story is more than just a sequence of events. It's also the emotional journey that your characters take and that the readers are going to take along with them. And, you know, storytelling is essential for any kind of book. Even if you're writing a business book or a self help book or technical manual, you will find that it's easier to engage your readers and to help them learn if you can incorporate some storytelling techniques. So in this class I'm gonna show you a handful of very simple, flexible approaches to story structure that I use all the time. I've used these at the beginning of a writing project in the middle, when I think I've lost my way, and even at the very end, when I have a feeling that something's not quite right. But I can't figure out what it iss now. There are as many approaches to story structure as there are stories and storytellers, so I think of these methods. Like a huge buffet. You can pick and choose what works for you in this class. I'm gonna show you the methods that I actually use in my own writing. But I'll also point you in the direction of some other resource is and give you some advice about how to figure out what's gonna work for you. Okay, Thanks for joining me. And, uh, let's jump in. 2. Your Project: all of the storytelling methods that I'm going to talk about in this class can be represented visually with a graph for a little drawing or a list, or just a few words on index cards. So, for your project, I'd love for you to pick at least one of these to try and post a photo or a screen shot along with Just tell us a little bit just a few little notes about what kind of story you're writing. Because a big part of learning about storytelling is looking at other writers examples and understanding their process. So by posting your own example, you'll be helping other students in this class with their own work, and I'm gonna post a few projects on my own, so be sure and look for those. And please also feel Frito. Put a question or a comment in the discussion 3. What About True Stories?: because I have written six nonfiction books over the years. I've taught a lot of nonfiction writers in my workshops and also a lot of novelists writing books based on true stories like Mine are So some writers have trouble with this idea. That story structure applies to non fiction as well. You know, they're telling a true story and they don't want to manipulate the truth. And I understand that. But even when you're telling a true story, understanding story structure can help you decide what to emphasize, what to focus on, how to make cause and effects connections between real world events. And in fact, this is actually how we tell stories all the time in our everyday lives. So, um, let me give an example. Let's say you have a little fender bender on your way home from work When you walk in the front door, how are you going to tell this story to your spouse? You probably don't begin by telling them every single thing that happened all day long. From the last time you saw them giving equal weight to every moment, your day, you know, and then I found a parking space and Then I locked the car and then I went into the office . And then I went upstairs giving equal weight to everything until you get to the car accident and then is going calmly on until the moment you came home. Nobody does this. Here's what you'd say to your spouse. Here's how you would tell the story of this little accident. You'd say something like, you know that intersection 23rd and Burnside the one where they have the left turn signal. But you got you actually have to turn from the right lane. And you know how I've always said that that's just an accident waiting to happen, because when you're coming down the hill, you can't see the car that's already pulled out. And if somebody runs the yellow light, you could get hit that way. Well, guess what. So see, you would set it up. You would present yourself in the best possible light. You want your spouse to understand that your blameless here, that intersections a death trap. There you were minding your own business right where you're supposed to be. But because of that badly designed intersection Bam, you got rear ended. We all tell stories like this. We know what we want the listener to believe We shape our stories to fit our agenda. You probably would even rehearse a story like that in your head a few times before you walk in the door and deliver it to your spouse. So we do this every day. So in this class, I'm not going to teach you how to lie or even how to manipulate the reader. But I am going to show you how have a point of view, how to structure your narrative so that a reader can make sense of it and can understand what it is you're trying to communicate. They want to be able to see the emotional journey, and they want to be able to understand cause and effect. So I'm gonna give some nonfiction examples as we go. So please, nonfiction writers stick with me 4. But My Story Doesn’t Fit the Mold!: something I hear a lot from writing students is that they don't want to learn story structure because they don't want their stories to be formulaic. And I totally get that. People really do take these ideas to an extreme, and you can create very predictable books and movies that way. Some of those books and movies air also wildly popular and successful, but still I get it. You don't want your story to feel like something that was just stamped out of a mold and is just too much like everything else. So I have a couple of answers to that. The first is, I want you to think of these story structures as methods for interrogating your story. If something isn't working, try just applying these structures to them. See where your story fits the mold and where it doesn't. And if it doesn't fit, maybe maybe you've identified a weak spot that you can fix in your own way. Come up with your own solutions. In other words, think of this less as a prescription and more as a set of questions that you can ask yourself. Then what you do with the answers is up to you. But the second thing is this. We like story structure for the same reason we like song structure. We're familiar with certain court progressions and with the idea of two verses, a bridge and a chorus. Even if we don't know what to call that, we can sort of feel it. It makes sense to us a song that's just one long string of words and notes with no clear break between the verses and chorus. It would be hard for us to hang onto, so, ah, classic three acts story structure is intrinsically satisfying. We want our stories to have a beginning in a middle and an end. We want to see some kind of change or growth to occur. In fact, we expect a certain amount of structure everywhere. It's kind of like you go into a restaurant. You expect to see certain things on the menu. You want to see starter side dishes, main dishes, dessert. If you picked up a menu and just saw a long, jumbled list of ingredients with no prices and no idea where one dish ended and another began, you'd be totally lost. So one last thing about story structure, some people want their stories to be so true to life that nothing much happens. But there's a reason we want more than that from stories. We wanna learn from stories like What would happen if I hit my head and woke up and I couldn't remember the last 10 years of my life? What would happen if I was accused of a crime I didn't commit? We, we consciously or unconsciously play these scenarios out in our heads when we read, You know, I just read an interview with Larry David, co creator of Seinfeld, and he has his own show. Curb Your Enthusiasm. A reporter asked him about an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David's at a party and a little girl's about to seeing, and Larry thinks it's gonna be awful. So he tells the little girl not to sing, and the reporter asked Larry David if he would ever do this in real life. And here's what he said. He said I wouldn't do anything. What I ever stop a girl from singing in my life? No. Would I stand there thinking Boy, I wish I could stop her. Yes, that's why there's a show and I thought about that. You know, when we create satisfying stories for readers, that's what they're after. That thing that would never happen in real life or that doesn't happen in their own life. That's why there's a story. 5. Chart the Emotional Journey: Okay, So remember that you can do these exercises at any point in the writing process before you start in the middle when you're totally lost it confused at the end when you're trying, Teoh, you know, assess whether what you've done works and whether it will be meaningful readers. And also, you don't have to do all of these and you don't have to do him in any particular order. Think of this as just a bag of tricks that you can use any way you like. I'm gonna start with a deceptively simple way to think about story structure. All you do is chart your protagonists emotional state, Generally speaking from start to finish, let's use Harry Potter as an example. An orphan boy lives with his unpleasant aunt and uncle who make him live in a little room under the stairs. Then he discovers that he's actually a wizard and he goes off to Wizarding School. Uh, discovers all his powers, fight some adversity and ends up stronger and more self actualized than before has also found a new family for himself, a new community and a new direction for his life. Now you can call the lines on this chart. Anything you like. Good and bad. Rich and poor, happy and sad, powerful and powerless, greedy and selfless. Wizard and Muggle. That's up to you. This is about knowing where your protagonist start, where she ends up, and generally what happens in the middle. 6. Aristotle's Incline: Aristotle actually wrote about plot structure in his treatise called The Poetics in the fourth century B. C. Over the years, a lot of writers have taken his idea and adapted it to modern storytelling. So it looks like this, really. It's a classic three act plot structure. We open with a fairly short act, one that shows what you might think of as the before picture what life was like before the events in the story Goto work on your protagonist. Here again, you can think of poor little Harry Potter living in the closet under the stairs with his insufferable and uncle plot. 0.1 is a transition into act. Too often. It's the moment when your protagonist, inner, some other world, embarks on a journey or finds their life suddenly shaken up. In this case at for Harry Potter, Hagrid shows up and delivers this letter to Harry Potter from Hog Awards, and he pretty abruptly enters this whole other world. Ah, lot of times something shows up or something leaves at plot 0.1. Act two has a midpoint at the center of it. Some people think of active is being split into two parts. The first half is before the midpoint, and the second half is after the midpoint. But regardless, the midpoint is often some kind of turning point where new information is revealed. Since we're doing Harry Potter, Hey makes a big discovery about the Sorcerer's Stone basically halfway through, and that changes what happens after that Now. Often your protagonist finds out at the midpoint that things are not what they thought they were, and they go charging off, armed with new information, new ideas. Different resource is into plot point to which gets you to the climax in the end of Act two . It's the moment when your protagonist achieves their goals. Harry Potter goes up against Voldemort often. It's the reversal of pop 0.1. Something showed up in plot 0.1. It leaves in plot point to their vice versa. That leaves you with Act three, which is sometimes called the Day New Mall. It's where all the loose ends are tied up. The bad guys caught. The couple finally realizes they're in love and meant to be together. Whatever your story is, that all kind of gets wrapped up in Act three, and usually there's some kind of winding down to Dio, you know, taking care of final details settling into this new life where everything is different than it was before. Ah and Harry Potter. He finds out a little bit more about his history, his family, The school year ends and he goes back. Teoh Privet drive for the summer toe. Wait the next school year. So okay, that's kind of a lot all at once. As you can see, Aristotle's incline is a very simple drawing. But a lot of thought goes into it, at least in how we use it today. Oh, I encourage you to make your own version of this drawing and to put the very simplest model of your own plot points in. And please remember, none of this is set in stone. Sometimes writing down the wrong thing is what helps you get toe what's right. So give it a try 7. 81 Index Cards: If you've done the 1st 2 exercises, you might have a pretty good handle on what's happening generally in the 1st 2nd and third acts of your story. So this next exercise helps you go a little deeper, and I want to remind you that you can do this at any point in the writing process, So it's fine. If you feel like you're not quite ready for this yet. You need to do a little more writing first. This is something you can come back to later as well. It's the first thing you're gonna dio is you're gonna take out an index card and summarize your story in one sentence. Now, if that feels impossible, try reading those one line summaries that you see in The New York Times bestseller lists. Delia Owens novel Where the Crawdad sings That line is in a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. In 1969 a young woman who survived alone in the marsh becomes a murder suspect. It's just one line that conveys the general premise of the book. Now take three cards and summarize your book again, but this time you can use three sentences. You might generally think of this is Act one, Act two and Act three. So if you're doing Harry Potter, your first card might say, an ordinary boy finds out that he's actually a wizard. The second card might say he goes off to Wizarding School, where he discovers new powers, makes friends, makes enemies and learn the truth about his past. The third card might say, After facing down his enemy and completing his first year, he returns home for another Dole summer with his Muggle relatives. Got it? Okay, so now do the same thing. But with nine cards, take that Act one card and break that down into three carts. Take the act to card. Break that one down into three cards. Same with AC three. And can you guess what I'm gonna tell you to do now? That's right. Take all nine of those cards and for each of those, right, Three cards. So now you're gonna have 27 cards, each one summarizing a major event or a plot point in your book. Now, at this point, you might notice something in most books Act one and act three or pretty short. Most of the action takes place in Act two, so you might be running out of ideas near the beginning in the end, and you might not actually have enough space in the middle. But that's OK. Do your best because you're about to have another shot at this. When you you guessed it for all 27 cards, make three more. That's a total of I have to do Math 81 cards. Which sounds crazy, right? But guess what? If you have 81 cards and each one of those cards represents a scene or a moment in your story that might eventually run to say 1000 words, that's your entire book summarized on index cards. OK, I know it's not that easy. I have never created the perfect three act story out of this 81 card exercise, but I've come up with so many good ideas and made so many connections between different parts of the story that I go back to this exercise over and over again. And don't worry if you can't feel every card. Don't worry if you get a little lost just digging into this structure. This idea of taking that one line and making it into three and three into nine and nine into 27. Just going through that process will help you dig a little deeper into your story and generate new ideas. 8. Opening & Closing Images: these next few ideas come from the movies. In Hollywood, Screenwriters love these really complex formulas for writing a screenplay. You'll hear them talk about the hero's journey, which is an idea that was popularized by Joseph Campbell and his study of mythology, and you'll hear all these other detailed point by point structures that can supposedly help you write a hit movie. Some of these ideas translate to novel writing, and some of them don't to be honest, I find some of them to be a little too complex and rigid for my taste. But like I said, I view all of these ideas about story structure like a buffet. So take what you like. Leave the rest. I'm gonna give you a few of the tricks that I think are most useful for writers. The first is the idea of an opening image and a closing image. I like this idea because I think that we writers tend not to think in terms of visuals, and we really should. So, for example, I just went to see the movie 1917 which is about a couple of British soldiers sent on a mission in World War in the opening scene. Our protagonist is sitting in a field leaning against a tree. As soon as I thought saw that, I thought he is going to be leaning against a tree at the end of this movie. But something's gonna be different. Oh, and I should have warned you. Learning about Hollywood screenwriting techniques will ruin movies for you. So believe it or not, do you know what was happening at the end of the movie? He was leaning against a tree, and something was different. So, like I say, these techniques can make your story a little predictable. But they can also be useful for thinking about what you're really trying to achieve. The idea of an opening and closing image is that will show the reader what life is like for the character at the beginning of the story and what it's like. At the end. It will show everything that's changed. But there's also some connection between the two images. They're like Brookins mirror images. They don't have to be exactly alike to have the guy leaning against the tree at the beginning and leaning against the tree at the end. It's a bit much, but they can be similar, they can sort of be echoes of one another. I had a student who was writing a novel based on a true story about a family who left the United States after the Civil War and went down to Latin America. Ah, lot happened along the way, but it's basically a journey with this woman at the center of the journey. When my student told me the story, one of the things she mentioned is that at the ends the woman ends up, she's widowed and she's living in a bird sanctuary down in South America. So I thought that was really interesting. And my suggestion to her was that she really think about Act one, that before picture this woman is gonna go on this grueling journey, she's gonna leave her home forever. Her husband dies. And in order for us to go on this journey with her, we want to understand what she lost and what she's leaving behind. So I suggested that she really sharpened up Act one. Let us see how good or bad her life was back here in the United States before she left. What did she leave behind? What is this loss represent, and because she was writing a novel based on a true story and she can get away with fictionalizing a little bit, I suggested that it might be interesting to have a bird in Act one. In that opening image, she sets up this bird sanctuary at the end, and birds are so symbolic. So, you know, could the book open with a scene where she has, ah, little canary back in ST Louis, where she lives, that maybe she lost along the way. Or even there's a bird in the garden in one early seen. It could be something really small, just one little note. But that could be a way to tie the beginning and the ending together. So try writing down a bunch of different ideas for this. Your opening image, your closing image. Sometimes you have to write 10 wrong ideas before you get to the right one. So make a list and see where it takes you 9. Six Things to Fix: another idea borrowed from Hollywood that similar to the before and after snapshot is this idea of six things to fix now. Of course, it doesn't have to be six things that just happens to rhyme. So people say that, um, you know, those movies that open with the alarm clock going off and you know, the protagonist wakes up and you see everything that's either totally wrong or totally right with their life. They get up there, apartments, a mess there, out of coffee. They're running late. They don't fit into the last clean outfit they have in their closet. The landlord's chasing him down the hall because rent is, Do they get to work late in, The boss threatens to fire them. You've all seen that movie, right? And of course, the point of the movie is, but something's about to happen that's going to turn all that around, and at the end we'll see a new version of this person where all those things have changed. So I know it's a total cliche, but just thinking in terms of six things to fix can be a useful way toe. Think about how to set the story up and introduce your protagonist and all of their problems and challenges to the reader, because that's gonna drive some of what happens next in the story. Those problems all have to get solved. I had a student who was writing a memoir about her mother, who had Alzheimer's coming to live with her. And I was expecting this to be a really sad book. And, you know, for her characters trajectory, meaning her my student to be one of increasing difficulty in adversity and sorrow and grief . But you know what? She told me that taking care of her mother turned out to be this wonderful experience. She and her husband actually grew closer. It made their lives better and a number of really surprising ways. So it was actually an upward trajectory. So I said, Okay, well, this is kind of the opposite of what readers are gonna expect. So you're gonna need to show us a before picture that gives us some sense of what was missing in your lives. I'm sure things were good about your life before your mother moved in, but also what was wrong with it? If in the third act, you're actually better off than you were before. We really need to understand where you were before. Be sure those two things balance each other out. So try that. Just think about your main character. What are their six things to fix that are going to be addressed in the story And they're gonna look very different by the end. And again, remember, it doesn't have to be six, but try making that list too. 10. Fun & Games: Here's another screenwriting trick, but I think is so important for any kind of book, and it's this idea of fun and games. The fun and games element to a story is the place where you get to see the basic premise of the novel really played out. So if the premise is that a C I. A agent has to go uncover undercover in pretend to be a zookeeper, you need to deliver on those scenes at zoo. We want to see your C I A agent cleaning the lion cage bottle feeding at newborn monkey, fielding questions from kids about the drafts and making up wildly wrong answers because they actually don't know anything about giraffes. We need to see all of that now. Fun and games doesn't actually have to be fun, and it doesn't have to involve games. It's more about showing us how things work in this new world that your character has entered. If you think about Stephen King's novel Misery, where a famous author has a car accident and ends up recuperating at the home of a hard core fan who turns out to be totally unhinged in dangerous, the injured author is figuring out how this world works, where he's at the mercy of this increasingly terrifying woman. It's not fun. There's no games. But the idea is that once we know the premise, we want to see those scenes where the premise really plays out. We have to see him dealing with this woman and testing the waters and figuring out what makes her tick and how far she's gonna go and him figuring out how he's going to survive. So make a list. What of the fun and games scenes in your story look like? And remember, you can throw out a dozen wrong ideas before you hit on the right one. Go ahead and make a lot of lists and really experiment with different options for how you might play out that idea. And keep in mind all of this applies to nonfiction to If you're writing a memoir about the summer, you left your nice suburban home and went to work at your uncle's dude ranch. We're gonna want to see those stories of the suburban kid learning how to work with the horses. You know, that's the payoff. That's why we're here. So don't skip over it, really dive in and deliver on that premise to your readers 11. But/Therefore: One of my favorite writing tricks actually comes from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. They use this technique to put their show together. What they dio is they take every storyline and they break each moment in the story down into a single sentence or phrase. And then they make sure that they can connect each of those story beats with the words but were there for. This is such a powerful idea. It makes sure that there's a constant sense of cause and effect in your story lines. If you can Onley connect your scenes with the words and you're in a little bit of trouble. So here's how I apply this to my books. I take it one character at a time. I identify my 23 maybe even 45 main characters, and I write out their individual storylines as if the whole story is being told from their point of view. Because, of course, in their mind it is right. We're all the heroes of our own stories. And then I used the words, but or therefore to connect those characters individual moments in the story. That means that not only am I seeing cause and effect of my scenes? But I'm really thinking about what each character's journey through the story looks like to them. Your book has a villain or an antagonised. Be sure and do this for them as well, even if they spend a lot of time off stage like, let's say, the criminal in your book is always trying to avoid the cops. You, as the writer should know what they're doing and what they're, but they're four trajectory looks like. Also, you might have ah, plot and a subplot in your story. So what I do is I do a separate but therefore list for the separate plotlines. And then when you weave them together, you are gonna need to insert some mean whiles connect your plot and your subplot. But that's okay. Like, um, maybe it's a murder mystery, and your detective is also planning her wedding. So here's how this goes. Ah, your character wanted a small and simple wedding, but her mother wanted to invite 200 people. Therefore, she decides to have a small ceremony in a big reception, But the cost of the reception is more than they can afford. Therefore, she goes to her father to ask for a loan. It doesn't always have to be that sequence of, but therefore but therefore it might be, but but but therefore therefore therefore but therefore meanwhile, you get the idea. I do this exercise before I start writing. But this is one I really turned to a lot in the middle of the book when I feel like I've kind of lost my way. 12. Two Ideas from Hamilton: okay, I have to final ideas for you that come from Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musical Hamilton. When he read that massive 800 page biography of Alexander Hamilton, he saw the ingredients for a great musical, but he didn't know how to take such a huge and complex story and boil it down. So he asked Stephen Sondheim for advice, and Sondheim told him to write about the moments that meant something personally to him. Write those songs first, and the story structure can come out of that. The story emerges from the moments that are personal and significant to you and you alone. So try charting out those moments. What are the particular things in your story that made you even want to tell it in the first place? These could just be images. They could be single lines of dialogue, but think of them like stones going across a river, and you can hop from one to the next. Another interesting storytelling technique I learned from Hamilton is the idea that all musicals air well. Probably most musicals start out with an I am song at the beginning that tells the audience exactly who the protagonist is at the beginning of a musical. Obviously, in the case of Hamilton, that's the title song, Alexander Hamilton. There's also usually an I Want song, which tells us exactly what the character wants, whether those wants can actually be fulfilled or not. In the case of Hamilton, that's the song My Shot. So here's some homework. Go listen to those songs and really think about how much we learn about the characters in just those two songs. Um, he's not coy or clever about wanting us to figure out who the characters are and what they want. He comes right out and tells us you'll also notice how perfectly those two songs set us up for everything that's gonna happen next. There's nothing that happens later in the musical that doesn't somehow touch on a moment in one of those two songs, they anchor the whole story. So ask yourself, How can you do that for the book you're writing? You don't have the luxury of letting your characters burst into song. Well, I don't know. Maybe you dio, but, um, you want to make sure that there's absolutely no confusion on the part of your readers about who your protagonist is and what they want, because the entire story is going to come out of that. So what would those look like in the form of a scene? Make some notes or a list about those those wants and who they are and what right has short description of the kind of scene that would need to take place for your readers to be crystal clear on those two points? 13. More Tips for Nonfiction Authors: one more word about how nonfiction writers can use these techniques. If you're writing, let's say, a self help manual or a technical guide or a business book, you might be thinking, You know, I I don't have one overarching narrative story that I'm telling, but you probably have a lot of really small anecdotes. And if you don't, I think you should, because we remember information better through storytelling and were often really unsatisfied if we start to get information without the story. First I find this as an author. When I'm out giving talks, someone in the audience will always raise their hand and say, But how did you get the idea for this book? It's the first thing they want to know, and it kind of drives him crazy to not know that. So I actually begin every talk now by telling them how I got the idea for the book, because I know they're all itching to find that out. You know, over the years I've interviewed a lot of people who are scientists or really leaders in their field, and of course I'm interviewing them for their knowledge and for their expertise. But part of my job is to figure out how to apply storytelling methods to the work that they do. I still had to think of them as characters, and I had to give them an ark and a before picture in an after picture and make sure that the moment that they made that discovery or that something changed for them is told in a way that uses storytelling techniques. So I think a lot of times, if we're in business or academia or we have some technical information to get across, we forget that there's really interesting stories behind that stuff and that if you can tell that story and get even a little piece of information across to your readers through a story about a person, they'll actually remember it more. They'll be more interested and engaged with your topic, and they'll have an easier time sticking with you when you start delving into the technical details 14. Final Thoughts: in this class. I've given you the tools that I use most often, but really, this only scratches the surface. I'm gonna post a list of resource is so you can keep reading and exploring on your own. But remember, there's no one right way to do this, and nobody has a secret magical formula that will help you write the perfect book. As you explore story structure on your own, there are some ways to decide whether a particular idea is gonna work for you. The first is to look for that particular structure, that method or that suggestion in the stories you love. So like if you read somewhere and you will that exactly 10% of the way into a story, the theme of the story must be mentioned in an offhand way by a secondary character. Look around you. Do you notice that in novels that you love or movies that you really adore? If you don't see it and you don't get it, ignore it. The second is to consider the source. You know, I love to take writing advice from successful storytellers. I could read books on writing by people like Stephen King or Patricia Highsmith all day long. But if you're taking advice from someone who's built a career on giving other writers advice, but they haven't had a successful writing career of their own, I'm not saying they won't have good ideas for you. Maybe they will. But it is. It's OK to consider the source. It's also okay to realize that not every teachers the right one for you. And remember, you have to be surprised and entertained, too. If you find yourself adhering so closely to someone's formula that you're bored and you feel like you're just going through the motions and you're beating your head against the wall, something about that isn't right. Look for the techniques that get you excited and that let you see your own story in a fresh new light. If you're intrigued. If you're making a connection to that story structure and that idea, your readers are gonna feel that, too. All right, well, that's everything. Thanks for joining me. I hope you guys have found some of these ideas useful. And whichever one of these techniques you decide to try, please think about posting an example in the projects and let us all see what you're working on and also feel free to post your questions and comments in the discussion. I'll see you there.