Writing Craft

Dan Harmon’s Story Circle – How I come by it

Hello guys. I think just like me, many of you wanted to be a writers. Whether it might be a fiction or non-fiction, the fact that you are reading this meant that the spark is already ignited.

The spark ignited in me around 2012-2013, when I first started to read books on wattpadd. Reading them  felt so fascinated that I wanted to write a story like them.

I started, without any plan, and written 2 chapters. Then gave up. This trend continued for several months. I was frustrated that why I was not getting readers. Even though I have few readers, they stopped reading my chapters soon.

More important than that, I stopped writing.

I didn’t know what the reason was at that time. But now, I know it.

It was pacing and story structure.

Through Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester, I was able to know how to keep my pacing interesting.  It was in book that I learned the concept of scenes and sequels, about which, I would explain in later blog posts.

But implementing it was hard. Sometimes, I would hit it right. At other times, I would not. But still, the result was same.

I stopped writing.

So what was I missing?

After few months of wasting time, I found out the answer.

The story structure.

I went in search of the story structure and came across three act structure, four act structure. I implemented 4 act structure, then finished a book for NaNoWriMo two years ago. But when I tried to do the same with others, it was hard.

I gave up.

I went back to pantsing and not finishing my novels.

I still kept on searching, followed an outline given by a website and written a book for NaNoWriMo last year. I was able to use the concept of scenes and sequels to this book most of the time. But since I was not aware of what the goal for each chapter or scene was, the scenes were not good.

But still, the problem here was that I didn’t come up with outline, world building and all.

So I hit google and Youtube in search for the story structure that would enable me to produce better story.

I finally find it folks.

Dan Harmon’s story circle.

This has been recommended in so many videos and blogs. If you don’t know Dan Harmon, he is the creator of Rick and Morty animated tv show.

More importantly, this menthod was recommended in the book Plot Gardening by Chris Fox, whose novels I started to love. His Magitech Chronicles series are fantastic. Though I struggled with first book, but it grew on me from the second book. Every book is so interesting that I finished four books that are out now within 1 and half weeks.

I found out through Chris Fox’s Youtube videos and Plot Gardening book that he used Story Circle in Magitech Chronicles series.

A light bulb went off in my mind. I finally find the perfect solution for story structure. Dan Harmon’s Story Circle.

I thought I would be able to finish my books quickly and publish them. But I was so eager that I implemented it wrongly. My world building was poor and goals for scenes was not clear.

But I was not about to give up on Story Circle because I’ve seen it work for Chris Fox. His Magitech Chronicles are amazing.

I am going to edit my book keeping story circle in mind. But before that, I had some world building to do and redesign story circle for the book.

It’s going to take couple of months. In the mean time, I decided to imprint Story Circle on my bran. To do that, I have to analyze this carefully and apply it to favorite films I’ve seen in the past year.

I will start to apply it to the last film I’ve seen. Venom.

Once the analysis I complete, I will post them in my blog and break down the story structure of films that I’ve seen in the past year. Each movie might take a week or two to analyze and I would post them as they are finished so that you guys could comment on them about your opinions.

Whereas Venom is concerned, there would be major spoilers as to what would happen as far as story structures are concerned, so if you haven’t seen the movie, then go see them. But if you are skeptical, read my post and if you liked it, then go and see the movie. Venom is that good.

So without waiting for another post, I will give brief details of what the Story Circle is about below:

You-  The Hero is in zone of comfort.

Need- But he want something.

Go- He enters an unfamiliar situation.

Search- He adapt to the unfamiliar situation.

Find- He get what they wanted.

Take & Pay – He pay a heavy price for it.

Return- He returns to the familiar situation.

Changed – Having changed.

If my next blog post, I would be breaking Venom down into 8 steps of Story Circle and see whether there was any deviation or not.

Leave your opinions of this blog post in the comments.

Until next time,

Nagendra Kumar Yadav T.

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