Transformational Narrative:
Story Circle
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STORYCIRCLE

"Draw a circle and divide it in half vertically.

Divide the circle again horizontally.

Starting from the 12 o clock position and going clockwise, number the 4 points where the lines cross the circle: 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Number the quarter-sections themselves 2, 4, 6 and 8.

Here we go, down and dirty:

. A character is in a zone of comfort,
. But they want something.
. They enter an unfamiliar situation,
. Adapt to it,
. Get what they wanted,
. Pay a heavy price for it,
. Then return to their familiar situation,
. Having changed.

Start thinking of as many of your favorite movies as you can, and see if they apply to this pattern. Now think of your favorite party anecdotes, your most vivid dreams, fairy tales, and listen to a popular song (the music, not necessarily the lyrics). Get used to the idea that stories follow that pattern of descent and return, diving and emerging. Demystify it. See it everywhere. Realize that it's hardwired into your nervous system, and trust that in a vacuum, raised by wolves, your stories would follow this pattern." (Dan Harmon)
DATABASES
"Draw a circle and divide it in half vertically.

Divide the circle again horizontally.

Starting from the 12 o clock position and going clockwise, number the 4 points where the lines cross the circle: 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Number the quarter-sections themselves 2, 4, 6 and 8.

Here we go, down and dirty:

. A character is in a zone of comfort,
. But they want something.
. They enter an unfamiliar situation,
. Adapt to it,
. Get what they wanted,
. Pay a heavy price for it,
. Then return to their familiar situation,
. Having changed.

Start thinking of as many of your favorite movies as you can, and see if they apply to this pattern. Now think of your favorite party anecdotes, your most vivid dreams, fairy tales, and listen to a popular song (the music, not necessarily the lyrics). Get used to the idea that stories follow that pattern of descent and return, diving and emerging. Demystify it. See it everywhere. Realize that it's hardwired into your nervous system, and trust that in a vacuum, raised by wolves, your stories would follow this pattern." (Dan Harmon)
The circles are everywhere, if you know to look for them. They’re on the whiteboards around Dan Harmon’s office, on sheets tacked to his walls, on a notepad on the floor of his car. Each one is hand-drawn and divided into quadrants with scribbled notes and numbers sprouting along the edges. They look like little targets.

Harmon, 38, is the creator of Community, a sitcom about a group of community-college study buddies and the most giddily experimental show on network TV. He began doodling the circles in the late ’90s, while stuck on a screenplay. He wanted to codify the storytelling process — to find the hidden structure powering the movies and TV shows, even songs, he’d been absorbing since he was a kid. “I was thinking, there must be some symmetry to this,” he says of how stories are told. “Some simplicity.” So he watched a lot of Die Hard, boiled down a lot of Joseph Campbell, and came up with the circle, an algorithm that distills a narrative into eight steps:
If Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of the Monolyth story structure is too complicated for screenwriters, Dan Harmon (creator and writer behind Community and Rick and Morty) and his Circle Theory of Story is an easier option that you can apply to the development of your stories and characters.

Joseph Campbell’s breakdown of mythology storytelling has captivated writers within the literary, television, and film platforms for decades, offering a proverbial map to the journey that a character embarks on — and the many stages of challenges and conflicts that they are tasked with overcoming.
You. Need. Go. Search. Find. Take. Return. Change. Those are the eight steps to Dan Harmon’s Story Circle. Because narrative is how we make sense of the world around us. You could also think of the Story Circle as the CliffsNotes to Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! is another three-act structure that follows a similar path.

Campbell's work was a big influence for George Lucas while he created the biggest film franchise of all time, Star Wars. You can also see echoes of Campbell's work in The Matrix, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.
Storytelling has been with us for decades, and Joseph Campbell took this and developed the Hero’s Journey. Dan Harmon took this theory and developed the Story Circle.

There are 8 parts to Dan Harmon’s story circle; these steps help the writer develop a character who goes on a journey to achieve their goal.

Here are the 8 steps of Dan Harmon’s story circle, we will delve into each step in more detail below.

You
Need
Go
Search
Find
Take
Return
Change
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