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The story spine: illustrating a common pattern of storytelling with a small vignette of people alongside the steps

The story spine

Kenn Adams’s story spine is a wonderfully simple and flexible backbone for creating or analysing stories. I learned it from Dan Klein at Stanford as a fun improvising game: standing in a circle each person in turn takes on the next step of the story spine making up what happens. You’ll effortlessly produce some fascinating and amusing stories. We would extend the middle section as many times as felt natural to lead to the climax. An optional extension to the original spine was to add a final step of stating the moral of the story.

I have found the story spine very useful for coming up with on the spot bedtime stories. Also a fun game at the pub.

Why not give it a try now?

Like improv? You might like:

Watch Dan Klein in action at TEDxReset 2014


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