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What’s “plot driven” storytelling?

I’ve written a long article on the subject here… but below is a synopsis.

Here is a story: “The King died and then the Queen died.”

Here is a plot: “The King died and then the Queen died from grief.”

A “story” is just a series of events one after the other.

A “plot,” on the other hand, is causal.

In a plot, events change people.

Causality is what elevates a story to a plot. Without it, a story is just a series of events in a row.

Humans are hard-wired to solve for plot; to find causality in events, and close the curiosity gap between what they know and what they want to know. To not only understand “what happens next,” but “why.”

Whether you’re writing a screenplay, a novel, or a marketing campaign, your customer is your hero and your hero is your customer.

They’re the ones whose lives are affected by the events of their story.

For storytellers, understanding your hero’s motivations helps create more layered, believable characters whose decisions are honest and organically motivated, and who respond to the events of their story in ways that affect change… their “character arc.”

For marketers, knowing your hero/customer’s motivations — their avatar or persona — helps you understand and communicate how your solution will help them achieve their unspoken goals, and guide them through an engaging “customer journey” where your touch points are the plot points that move their story forward.

Plot-driven storytelling is how marketing campaigns, movies, and books connect with their audiences on an emotional level and invite them to engage.

To convert. To turn the page. To ask for more. To take the next step.

Because that’s what matters once you have someone’s attention.

The. Next. Step.

I love helping writers, filmmakers, marketers, and businesses define and refine their stories and share them in a compelling way that emotionally engages their known audiences.

As a marketer, a screenwriter, a director, a production designer, and an illustrator, I’ve helped campaigns, movies, and books deliver their messages with greater focus, efficiency, and humanity.

My articles on writing and storytelling have been cited, referenced, or quoted by SimplyScripts, Script Magazine, the BlueCat Newsletter, IndieWire, JohnAugust.com, Bleeding Cool, ScriptTips, Scriptchat, MovieOutline.com, No Film School, and Wikipedia.