A story falls flat when the archetypal story format is ignored.
I have talked about it before.
- A main character wants something
- They encounter an obstacle
- Then the main character meets a guide
- The guide helps them form a plan
- The main character is called to action
- The action ends in either a success or a failure
The more clarity around these points the better.
Clarity is, after all, a form of persuasion.
Understand: Trump understands the power of this narrative device.
See, songs are exactly the same way.
The melodic math (which has nothing to do with the lyrics) can make or break a song.
Someone who is skilled at telling jokes or stories understands that they are not random utterances. They follow a definite pattern, like a folksong or a sentence that you can diagram. If you follow the pattern, most of the time you get good results. If you ignore the pattern, the joke or story falls flat. The pattern requires movement and resolution.
-John Erickson, Story Craft (Amazon)