How do stories work?

The Rhetoric of Story isn’t a writing a course. It’s the answer to a question that has fascinated me for over a decade. How do stories work? How do a few words on a page, some flickering images on a screen, convince us for a time that we are a different person, living a different life, in a different world?

When I first launched The Rhetoric of Story a year ago, a good friend told me to give it a more exciting name. Well meant advice. But while “”The 7 Secrets of Kickass Stories” is more eye catching, it’s less useful. Because the Rhetoric of Story is more than a title…it’s the heart of the answer to my question…how do stories work?

Storytelling is magic. It’s a kind of illusion. The storyteller shapes words, images, symbols, and we are transported to other worlds. You don’t have to be a brilliant literary writer, or a genius auteur filmmaker. If you can pull off the magic trick, and immerse people in a story that transports them, they will love everything you create.

The Rhetoric of Story is big and ambitious. Nobody has tried before to set out a simple framework, a “rhetorical mode”, for how the immersive effect of story is created. If your storytelling can embrace all 7 foundations – Change, Self, Other, Conflict, Events, Structure and Emotion – then whether it’s a 2 page short story, or a 10 hour tv show, it will work.

As a teacher, I want to give my students the clearest possible guidance on achieving the single most important goal for any writer – telling a great story. I think in The Rhetoric of Story I’ve achieved that. And now you can find out for yourself…

…the course is now on Udemy and, for one week only, it’s free. Click the link and use course code STORYTELLER at checkout.

The Rhetoric of Story.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.