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Become a Master Storyteller

Melanie Anne Phillips

Creator of StoryWeaver, Co-creator of Dramatica, and designer of the Master Storyteller Method.

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$100 / Hour

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The Master Storyteller Method

Copyright © Melanie Anne Phillips. Creator, StoryWeaver ~ Co-creator, Dramatica

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Develop your story with…

Your Log Line

Some of my story consultation clients come to me with dozens, sometimes even hundreds of pages of notes and concepts for a single story!  Others come to me with the germ of an idea and no clue how to expand it into a fully developed story concept.

The solution to both these problems is the log line, and it is the perfect place to start building your story.

A log line describes the core of your story.  It is a single sentence that sums up what your story is about in the most concise form possible.

For example, a log line for Hamlet might read:

“A prince of Denmark seeks revenge against his uncle for murdering his father and feigns insanity to buy time to plan the best method.”

Now clearly everything that makes Hamlet amazing is missing from the log line.  But it does serve to capture the gist of what is going on.

The Master Storyteller Method always begins with a log line because it serves as an anchor or center for all your story development to come.

Here’s an analogy of what it is used for and why it works so well…

As a child did you ever hang a string in a glass of sugar water for a few days?  If you did, you saw that sugar crystals started to form along the string.

That’s what happens when you create a log line for your story.  The central concept forms what I call a “narrative attractor.”  It is like a lightning rod for ideas that can pull all your various notes together into a crystallized concept and it can attract ideas from your own creative mind that might never congeal at a conscious level on their own.

Just creating a log line does do that.  To make it happen, just follow the next few steps and you’ll see how your log line acts as a seed that can grow into a fully developed story world - which is the purpose of the first part of the Master Storyteller Method.

So, this is what you do in this step: Create a single sentence that describes the essence of what your story is about.

It sound easy, and it may be.  Or, you may have difficulty choosing what information to put in and what to leave out.  Generally, you’re going to want to include a Main Character or a Protagonist, possibly a Villain or Antagonist, something about the plot, maybe a nod to the theme or message, and a quick taste of the flavor of the genre.

During this entire self-guided program we’re going to be building an example along with you, step by step, so you can see what you need to do at every juncture.

Here’s the log line for our example story:

“A sheriff in a western town is trying to stop a gang of cutthroats from repeatedly robbing the town blind.”

Sound like dozens of cliché stories you’ve see before, right?  Your story’s log line might seem the same way at this stage.  Not to worry…  As we progress you’ll see this simple concept expand and refine until it becomes a truly rich story world, ready to generate your storyline.

In the next step, we’ll review your log line and consider some do’s and don’ts you may want to incorporate in a revised vesion.

Appraising Your Log Line On Step 4 To Step 5