Principles of storytelling

I read Författarskolan (“writers’ school”) by Göran Hägg. A simple, unpretentious, very funny and interesting book; unfortunately for those of you that can read Swedish, it is out of print, and for you others, I don’t know of any similar book in English to recommend. But after I read it (or actually re-read it, but I had forgotten just about everything in it) I found that I could study the “structure” of the story in a book or a movie, as well as enjoying the story.

Good stories often are very skillfully structured, and if you know a little about storytelling principles and techniques, the fact that you can “see” its structure doesn’t spoil the fun. I once saw a few episodes of a documentary series where some magician anonymously gave away the secrets of many well-known tricks. But I thought it didn’t spoil the experience. It only made apparent the skillfulness of the performers. I feel this to be the case for the principles of storytelling as well. For a good story, you only appreciate it more if you can see how it is “done”.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on July 2, 2002. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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