Epic Story Framework

Created by Cade Scott on


Use the prompts here to help guide you to write a fiction story, personal story, or further flesh out the "hero's journey" for your ideal customer avatar. This recipe is inspired by Dan Harmon's "Story Circle," which was inspired by Joseph Campbell's insights in "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." It's a simplified version of those story frameworks to their most essential elements. Here is the framework: A - ction B - ackstory D - evelopment C - limax E - nd 1. Start with ACTION! I’ve learned to start my stories with ACTION! One, it immediately “hooks” the audience and gets them invested! Especially today- when the window to catch someone’s attention is so small. Plus, your audience will be much more invested and willing to endure the backstory… To get super prescriptive, There are two ways to frame your ACTION: - With a scene that takes place before the actual “adventure” or change in the character’s life OR - With a scene in the middle of the story or climax… And most great movies or TV shows do this (the epic ones at least). Think STAR WARS - with Darth Vader riding in on a Star Destroyer to capture Princess Leia. Before switching to Luke on Tatooine. Or Breaking Bad - which presents us with a guy in his underpants, riding around in an RV. After you start your story with a BANG! 2. It’s time to take a breath and set the audience up for the “adventure.” And provide some BACKSTORY. Epic stories have a main character, a Hero. The audience gravitates to Heroes who they can relate to and empathize with. This can be done by showing the character’s “want” or “desire” or “need.” Just make sure this desire is so strong though that it “calls them to an adventure” - compels them to act and pursue their desire. 3. Now, it's time to enter into the " new world" and DEVELOP the story. This is where the majority of the story should be spent: watching our Hero in pursuit of their want, desire, or need. Nothing is ever easy the first you try it. Especially if the environment, process, or tool is entirely new to you. Neither is it for our Hero. Often called “The Road of Trials,” the Hero fails to adapt to the new world - oftentimes barely escaping with his life. In the process, they find out who/what is going to help them and who/what is an obstacle. But this new world and this failure wears them down. Until they reckon with turning back and not pursuing what they want. At the midpoint, the hero wrestles with their internal demons. And ultimately decides: - What they thought they wanted isn’t actually what they wanted OR - What they want is worth going forward for So, they muster the internal strength, continue to adapt to this chaotic, new world until they master it. 4. This development ultimately leads to the CLIMAX of the story. All that internal change now manifests itself in the Hero externally. As they now have a change to attain what they desired from the beginning. But they have to face their toughest test yet: the "Big Bad." Someone or something of immense strength that stands in their way. Ultimately, they overcome this “big bad” and acquire what they want. 5. And they return to their “normal world,” changed forever at the END. Mainly this is to extenuate how much the character has changed since going through this “adventure” and achieving what they want. The hero can impart a physical gift or wisdom to their community as a result of the journey they've just gone on.

Recipe content
The EPIC Story Framework: To Help Create Stories and Develop Characters [If you are starting from scratch, use the prompt below and put it in the Title and Content Brief, then fill out a section of the outline.] Genre: {insert the name of the genre you want to write in} >Write a list of storylines based on the genre above Chosen Storyline: {insert a Jarvis storyline given above} >Write a list of titles that fit the {genre} story above >Who is the main character of the story? *** [If you already know a little bit about the story you want to tell: Answer these 5 questions inside the Content Brief, then fill out a section of the outline.] What? What is the story you want to tell the reader? Where? Where does this story take place? Why? Why is this story important to the reader? Who? Who is the main character of the story? When? Is there a concept of time involved? How? Ask yourself how the story will unfold? *** [If no good outputs, come back to this section after filling out the others.] ACTION: "Hook” Your Readers >What would be a good "hook" to start the story with? *** BACKSTORY: Intro to the HERO of the Story >Who is the main character of the story? >What does {character} want? Why? >What does the {character} actually need? >What does the {character} fear? >What does {character} life look like before the story starts? >When did {character} realize that they wanted more from life (or their situation)? >What will make {character} finally go after what they want (inciting incident)? [Replace the Content Brief with the information below] The main character is {character} and they want {character's want}. So they decide to {inciting incident}. *** DEVELOP: The "Road of Trials" >How does {character} fail in pursuing what they want? >What external obstacles does {character} encounter in pursuit of what they want? >Does {character} struggle to continue or persevere at times? >What inner demons does {character} experience during these times? >What keeps {character} from quitting? >Is there anyone who acts as a guide to {character}? >Is there anyone who acts as an obstacle for {character}? [Add to the Content Brief] {Character} encounters many obstacles, including {note worthy obstacle outputs from above}, but decides to trudge on because {keep from quitting output}. *** CLIMAX: The “final showdown” which results in a character transformation >What is the final obstacle {character} has to overcome to get what they want? >What did {character} have to realize in order to get what they want? >How did this realization impact or change {character}? [Add to the Content Brief] To get what they want, {character} has to overcome {the final obstacle}. *** END: The hero returns to the “normal world” now changed. >What impact does this journey have on {character}? >What wisdom or knowledge can {character} now pass on to their community? >What does {character} day-to-day look like after this journey? [Add to the Content Brief] They return {impact output} and decide to give {gift or wisdom bestowed} to their community.