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Storyworthy - Part 4: Mastering the Art of Storytelling: Crafting Compelling Stakes and Permissible Lies - A reading log

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by Matthew Dicks

A reading log.

Part 4

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December 30th 2023

Every story needs stakes. Stakes catch the audience. Stakes are also the reason why it is difficult to tell a story to a large audience. If you start a story with a very obvious stake, you can call it "the elephant". The elephant is an essential part of the story, but it is not mentioned directly: Die Hard-McClain wants to save his marriage.

Chapter 9, page 137



December 31st, 2023

Ways to create stakes:

Backpack: Load your audience with expectations

Brad Crumps: Include tiny bits of information in your story that lead the audience to make assumptions.

Hourglass: Build suspense by slowing down the pace of your story. For example, use descriptions of things that are not essential to the story but are not completely useless.

Crystal Balls: Trick the audience by making incorrect predictions. Say what you think might happen next, but then say what actually happened. Predict worst-case scenarios.

Humor: Humor does not raise the stakes. It helps move the audience emotionally, but be careful. Stories that are just humor don't go deep and are easily forgotten.

Chapter 9, page 148



January 1st, 2024

Storytellers don't always tell the whole truth. Sometimes it is important to remove people or actions to keep the audience focused. The following are the five permissible lies of storytelling.

#1 Omission: Eliminate distractions from your story. Also, end your story at a point where the audience is a little uncertain, leaving room for guessing and interpretation.

Chapter 10, page 156



January 2nd, 2024

#2 Compression: In reality, parts of the story may stretch over several days. You can compress this to give your story more movement

#3 Assumption: If it's important for your story to tell details you don't know, you can fill in the gaps with assumptions

#4 Progression: Change the order of events if it helps your story.

#5 Conflation: Conflation can be used to compress all the emotions of an event into a single moment. So you can make your 5-second Moment clearer.

Chapter 10, page 162

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