Allowing Greater Creativity Through Story Structure

The stories we tell ourselves, and how to write more triumphs of the spirit.

Convertkit's official storyteller Isa Adney dives into Dramatica theory with her recent review of Marie Forleo's book, Everything is Figureoutable.

The "everything is figureoutable" concept also gave me courage to put my own creative projects on pause, guilt-free. Waking up at 5am is how I wrote my first book and blog in 2011 with a full-time job. Here I was again trying to write my second book, but what worked before wasn't working this time. The few times I forced it, I got sick.  Marie's idea? Replace "can't" with "won't."

The narrative Element of Conceiving —or getting an idea of something (creativity)—consists of four thematic issues:

  • Permission
  • Need
  • Expediency
  • Deficiency

This translates into regular human speak, respectively, with:

  • Can
  • Need
  • Should
  • Want

What we can or cannot do is what we feel we have Permission to do.

What we want or won't do is what we feel must be done because of what is lacking--the recognition of Deficiency .

Isa moves forward with her creativity by replacing Permission (can't) with Deficiency (won't).

I won't get up at 5am anymore to write.  I felt empowered. 

Permission and Deficiency are arranged in a dynamic pair relationship—which means one can act as a potential "solution" for an identified problem. Dynamic pairs arrange themselves diagonally within the Dramatica table of story elements.

Conceiving Quad

In other words, anytime you feel beset by one issue—address it with the opposite aspect.

Feel stressed about what you can't do? Tell yourself you won't do it. Feeling overwhelmed by what you need to do? Alleviate that with a dose of what you should do.

The power fell deliciously back into my hands. Not long after proudly pinning my "won't" badge to my metaphorical jean jacket, I started writing from a coffee shop 7am-9am three times a week. My word count soared. 

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