How To Tell A Story, by Wallace & Daughter

Art reproduced with kind permission of the artist, in this case my six-year-old daughter:


Before telling a story, there are seven questions you should ask:


1: Who is the story about?

2: What do they want?

3: Why do they want it?

4: What is stopping them?

5: Why is it stopping them?

6: What do they do about it?

7: What happens next?

My daughter’s story answers these questions as follows:

1: The story is about a kind monster called Snuffy:


Here is Snuffy in real life:


2: Snuffy wants the Dark Crystal:


Here is the Dark Crystal, portrayed by a sculpted biscuit:


3: Snuffy wants the Dark Crystal in order to help people:


An actual person, rendered in Blu-Tac:


4: The Scecsees are stopping Snuffy using the Dark Crystal to help people:


5: Without the Dark Crystal the Scecsees have no power:


The story so far:


Surveying the Story Wall:


The next question is tricky. What will Snuffy do about this situation?

One proposal was for Snuffy to get the Dark Crystal out of his nose.

While interesting, this idea didn’t make much sense in terms of the characters.

To illustrate, we had assistance from Wonder Woman:


Wonder Woman’s outfit suits her perfectly. It is a complete vision and reflects her character.

If we were to change any aspect of her outfit, which is a visual story in several parts, the result might be interesting, but wouldn’t quite work.

For example, here is Wonder Woman again, with her headband replaced by some electric pump adaptors and her Lasso of Truth by a dead wasp:


While intriguing, it’s just not right.

The answer of how to resolve story questions always lies with the characters.

The Dark Crystal is a character in this story. What else do we know about it? If the Scecsees use it for power, it must be where they are. If Snuffy wants it, he will have to take it – thus:

6: Snuffy takes the Dark Crystal:


The first six questions are about setting the scene so we have a structure to work with.

Story question 7 is: What happens next?

In this story, what happens next is:

The adventure begins!


Here is the text, which answers the original seven story questions:


Here is the complete Story Wall:


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