27 Essential Principles of Story: Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, From Shakespeare to South Park

Daniel Joshua Rubin
Published in 2020
by Workman Publishing Company

In this collection of twenty-seven lessons drawn from classic short stories, novels, films, graphic novels, television shows, and plays, screenwriter and playwright Daniel Joshua Rubin breaks down the fundamentals of storytelling, the “old-school principles of plot, character, setting, dialogue, and theme—the same ones Aristotle wrote about more than 2,100 years ago.” Each chapter follows the same structure: a quick take of the exemplary story, a breakdown of the story’s mechanics, a study of how a great storyteller executed a particular principle, then step-by-step instructions for writers to try the same principle. Featuring lessons inspired by James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” among others, Rubin offers humorous, practical, and engaging lessons on storytelling that any writer can learn from regardless of experience. “Storytelling is a personal and revealing art. You write stories to express the truth as you see it,” writes Rubin. “My hope is that each chapter will help you figure out how to execute each principle in your own unique way.”  

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