I’m surprised I never heard this before today, but I just stumbled on a fantastic summary of the three main rules of storytelling. I heard it thanks to John Rodgers on an episode of TableTop – which is a great webseries by the way, it really makes me want to play more board games – and they go like this:
- Who wants what?
- Why can’t they have it?
- Why do I give a shit?
Motivation, conflict, and interest, all in three quick questions.
I wondered if this was as brilliant as it seemed, and after running it past the few pieces of authored fiction I encountered today, it is. Motivation, conflict, and interest – if a scene has those three elements, chances are it’s going to resonate with someone. Or at least it’s off to a good start.