Some people know a little bit about everything and others seem to know a lot about everything. I had a friend like that. The insight he had concerning nearly every topic we discussed never ceased to amaze me.
One day he said, “Do you realize there are four parts to every great story?” I knew I was in for a treat so I asked him to tell me what they were. He said, “First you have to introduce your audience to Jack. Second, you cause your audience to fall in love with Jack. Third, you get Jack in trouble and fourth, you have to get Jack out of trouble.”
As I wondered what he was talking about he gave me a couple of examples. “In The Sound of Music, the first character we meet is Maria. As the plot progresses, the audience falls in love with Maria. After a while Maria gets herself into a real mess. Because they already love her, the audience is pulling for her to find a way out of the mess she is in and of course, by the end of the story, Maria is out of trouble. That is what made it a great story.”
While I was still pondering what he was telling me, he cited the movie, Rocky. “First, we meet Rocky. Second, we fall in love with this lovable character. In the third part of the process, Rocky gets into trouble when everything goes wrong in his life. Then, in fourth and final part, Rocky gets out of trouble and becomes a winner.”
My friend asked, “Do you know every great movie script and every great book could be narrowed down to those four points?”
We had that conversation years ago, but, as I have thought about all the movies I have seen and novels I have read, I realize that he was right. It really is true – every great story has those four parts. First, you introduce your audience to the main character. Next, you cause the audience to fall in love with them. Third, you put that individual in a tough situation. And, fourth, the individual survives the situation and comes out on the other side victorious.
Recently I shared that story with another friend of mine who had just gone through a week-long training course in how to write good stories. She laughed and said, “I learned more from you in five minutes about how to write a good story than I did in the whole week-long training course I just took. Thanks!”
The older I get, the more I see that this four-part process not only applies to writing or telling a good story but it applies to life as well. By understanding where I am in the “story” of life, I have found this information to be very helpful and encouraging. It helps me to get “on with the story” so I can get to the other side where there is personal growth and success.
These Tips are meant to give you wisdom and insight that other people may not possess. Understanding that there are four parts to every great story has helped me in more ways than one and I am sure they will do the same for you!
Tip: There are four parts to every good story!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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