Rhetoric of Story – Part 5

Events – stories within stories

We continue the Rhetoric of Story with the fifth element – events! What are stories made of? Not words, not pictures, but events. And what are events made of? More events.

  • Stories are made of events.
  • Our mind pays close attention to events, times when reality does not meet expectation.
  • Events are linked by chains of cause and effect.
  • Once you know the events of a story, it can be told on any scale.
  • Stories are fractal, they contain other stories, and are part of bigger stories.
  • Events are described within stories as scenes.

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Robert McKee’s Story is a classic of screenwriting, and useful also for novelists. Dive into the structure of narrative filmmaking through McKee’s wise and encouraging words. Purchase on Amazon.


Choose a story you like and know well, a film, book, play or other story you have experienced many times. List the key events of the story. Try to capture the cause and effect that connects the events. Now find a friend, and in just a few minutes, tell them the story.

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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.


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