The Rhetoric of Story: Part 2 - The Self.

Damien Walter, Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

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8 Videos (34m)
    • Introduction - the self in story.

    • Oedipus Rex.

    • Know Thyself.

    • The formation of desire.

    • Will to power.

    • Conscious and unconscious desire.

    • What is the self becoming?

    • The hard questions of story.


About This Class

The seven foundations of powerful storytelling.

Stories are powerful. Just a few words on a page, or some flickering images on a screen, and for a handful of moments, minutes, or hours we can believe we are another person, living another life, in another world. How do stories have such a powerful, immersive effect?

Just seven core techniques provide the foundation for every great story every told. Together these seven foundations form a "rhetoric of story", that can be used to tell a powerful, immersive story in any medium, from a 5 page short story, to a 10 hour television series.

PART TWO of the Rhetoric of Story introduces the second foundation of powerful storytelling - the Self.

Find the course introduction and part on here.

This lecture in the Rhetoric of Story explores the second of seven foundational elements of storytelling - self. The key ideas introduced in this lecture are:

  • every story has at its heart a hero, a protagonist, a central character - a self.
  • we make sense of the world by telling a story about it and placing our self at its centre
  • to know the world, we have to know our self
  • the self is motivated by a great desire
  • desires can be conscious and unconscious
  • a great desire leads to great motivation
  • we are fascinated by how people become someone new

Ideas you will learn in the full Rhetoric of Story course:

  • Why no story can be great without a profound INTERNAL change.
  • A psychological insight into self, the engine of story.
  • The key to creating truly human characters: the web of relationship.
  • Conflict, why it must be present, and the 3 levels it must cross.
  • The "fractal" pattern of events; stories within stories.
  • Why it's OK to steal story fact it should be compulsory.
  • How to harness the secret super power of story: Emotion.






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Damien Walter

Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

Damien Walter ( BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA) teaches good writers how to be great. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop taught by Neil Gaiman. He consults widely for businesses in technology, healthcare, and man...

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