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The Universal Story Arc

This universal story structure reflects how human brains, regardless of culture, gender, age, language, are wired to hear stories in a specific form.

Here it is in 10 simple steps.


1. Define the point.

What is the core message you want to share? With the end in mind, recall and write down scenes from your life as if in a movie.


2. Choose.

From all your stories, which has the most conflict; the highest stakes; the most wisdom? When did you have the most to lose, the most to gain, the deepest pain?

3. Unpack your story.

Do you have the essential ingredients? Beginning scene with a hook and action, character's desire, conflict both internal and external, the 'aha' moment, the lesson learned.

Set your timer and let it flow!

Set your timer and let it flow!

4. Write.

Set pen to paper without censoring, without stopping. Let your muse awaken and the words will flow!

5. Add.

Description - show, don't tell; put us in the scene with you. Add dialogue; sensory language; metaphors; surprises; humor; your human imperfections; your feelings.


6. Subtract.

Everything that is non-essential to this story, cut it and save it for another story.

7. Practice Run.

Read your story aloud - where does it flow? Where does it get stuck? Is the listener asking: what happened next? again and again and again ...

8. Reflect & Refine.

Can you improve your “baby“? How does it feel when you tell your story? Genuine? Contrived? If you are feeling vulnerable, it's probably a damn good story!

9. Find Feedback.

Remember: personal growth brings happiness! Be open to helpful feedback.

Storyteller Ben Mc Guire on stage at The Bear.

Storyteller Ben Mc Guire on stage at The Bear.

10. Share.

When we share our stories, what it does is it opens up our hearts for other people to share their stories. And it gives us the sense that we are not alone on this journey.
— Janine Shepherd

Step on stage at The Bear Storytelling in Berlin, we'd love to hear your story!