Dan harmon writing advice from famous authors

Here is my all-star band: If he is successful, Morton plans to use Tommy Ladnier on trumpet.

Dan harmon writing advice from famous authors

What Harmon did is refine these to just eight steps, comprised of basic human motivations, actions, and consequences, which he lays out on a circle: They enter an unfamiliar situation, Adapt to it, Pay a heavy price for it, Then return to their familiar situation, Having changed.


Rick is a mad, drunk, egomaniacal scientist who has invented a portal gun that allows him to have debauched adventures across time and space. He almost always drags his sensitive, anxious grandson Morty along for the ride.

A character is in a zone of comfort The first beat of the story sees Rick and Morty on what seems like just another one of their adventures.

Get what they wanted Morty has achieved his goal: On the circle diagram, Step 7 is directly opposite to Step 3, where Morty crossed the threshold into the unfamiliar situation.

Balance and harmony are a big part of storytelling. As Harmon points out, this is not a show for kids: Harmon has laid out his process for using the story circle in a fascinating set of posts warning: He lightly touches on the rhythms of biology, psychology, and culture: One of the few things it's telling you, over and over again, is that you need to go search, find, take and return with change.

dan harmon writing advice from famous authors

Because that is how the human animal has kept from going extinct, it's how human societies keep from collapsing and how you keep from walking into McDonald's with a machine gun. This idea of questing, changing, and returning is not a hack concept concocted by lazy writers, but an ingrained part of our collective psyche.

Does the story circle really apply to every story? BBC According to Harmon, yes. Now think of your favorite party anecdotes, your most vivid dreams, fairy tales, and listen to a popular song the music, not necessarily the lyrics. Pip, a young orphan, lives a modest life on the moors.

But they want something: He becomes obsessed with Estella, a wealthy girl of his age. They enter an unfamiliar situation: A mysterious benefactor plucks Pip from obscurity and throws him — a fish out of water — into London society.

He learns to live the high life and spends his money frivolously Get what they wanted: Pay a heavy price for it: Pip discovers that his money came from a convict, he drowns in debt, he regrets alienating his Uncle, he realizes that his pursuit of Estella is futile. Then return to their familiar situation: Pip makes peace with his Uncle Joe who nurses him back to health.

Pip disappears to Egypt for years, and once again returns home… Changed: Back once again where the story started, a now-humbled Pip reunites with Estella who, due to some plot, is ready to open her heart to him.

Although Great Expectation was a serial, written week-by-week, Dickens must have consciously or unconsciously been aware of this cycle.

As with any sensible advice about structure, the takeaway here is not that you must slavishly adhere to a set formula or risk ruining your story.

What's New

This story circle, along with other popular story structures like the three-act structureare simply tools based on observations of stories that have managed to resonate with readers over the centuries. What other novels could you break down using the Dan Harmon Story Circle?

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dan harmon writing advice from famous authors
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