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Writer’s DreamKit

50 Sure-Fire Storytelling Tricks

By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator StoryWeaver, Co-creator Dramatica

Available in  Paperback, PDF, and for Kindle


Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve written thousands of articles on story structure and storytelling.  Here, I’ve gathered together a few of the best on the topic of storytelling.  I hope you find them illuminating in concept and practical in application.

Table Of Contents

Trick 1 - Building Size (Changing Scope)

Trick 2 - Red Herrings (Changing Importance)

Trick 3 - Meaning Reversals (Shifting Context to Change Meaning)

Trick 4 - Message Reversals (Shifting Context to Change Message)

Trick 5 - Building Importance (Changing Impact)

Trick 6  Non-Causality (Out of Context Experiences)

Trick 7 - Out of Sequence Experiences (Changing Temporal Relationships)

Trick 8 - Flashbacks and Flash Forwards

Trick 9 - Designing Your Plot – Multi Appreciation Moments

Trick 10 - Revealing Your Goal

Trick 11 - Genre: Revealing Your Story’s Personality

Trick 12 - Character Dismissals

Trick 13 - Introducing Characters in Act One

Trick 14 - The Big Picture

Trick 15 - The Collective Goal

Trick 16 - Characters’ Personal Goals

Trick 17 - Don’t Forget the Requirements!

Trick 18 - Creating Extra Tension with Consequences

Trick 19 - Success or Failure?

Trick 20 - Writing from a Character’s Point of View

Trick 21 - Fire Your Protagonist

Storytelling Tricks Just For Novelists

Trick 22 - Novels Aren’t Stories

Trick 23 - Get Into Your Characters’ Heads

Trick 24 - Keep A Daily Log Of Tidbits

Trick 25 - Don’t Hold Back

Storytelling Tricks Just For Screenwriters

Trick 26 - Screenwriting 101

Trick 27 - Teaser

Trick 28 - Remember your audience

Trick 29 - Don’t be overly literary in your scene description

Trick 30 - Don’t get stuck in a genre trap

Trick 31 - Use “Tracking Dialog”

Trick 32 - Find interesting and believable ways to drop exposition

Trick 33 - Don’t preach

Trick 34 - Give your Main Character a personal issue as well as a goal to accomplish

Trick 35 - Characters don’t have to change to grow

Trick 36 - There are many kinds of ending

Trick 37 - Use index cards to work out the scenes in your script

Trick 38 - Break up long monologs among several characters

Trick 39 - Use “Red Herrings”

Trick 40 - Don’t say it if you can show it

Trick 41 - Drop exposition through arguments

Storytelling Tricks for Multi-Story Ensemble Series and Soap Operas

Trick 42 - Subplots

Trick 43 - Relationships of Subplots to Plot

Trick 44 - Multi-Story Formats

Trick 45 - Stretching Time

A Grab Bag of Tricks for All Media

Trick 46 - The Rule of Threes

Trick 47 - Avoiding the Genre Trap

Trick 48 - Genre – Act by Act

Trick 49 - Genre: Revealing Your Story’s Personality

Trick 50 - Characters – The Attributes of Age