Over the years people have told infinitely many stories in many different ways, but the stories we want to hear again and again all have certain elements in common.

We’re all telling stories, all the time — whether that’s an enraged tweet after getting cut off on the way to work, or a multi-book epic fantasy series. Is there a magic formula to stories which engage readers? It’s a question which has a lot of writers scratching their heads, but we thought we’d take a stab at it.

Elements of a good story

Once you’ve come up with your future Oscar/Booker/Pullizer winner, you have more options for how to tell it than ever. Here’s how storytelling has evolved in response to technological advances:

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The way we tell stories may have changed, but what makes a story great stays the same. We all have a story to tell: what’s yours?

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