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Different Approaches to Creating a Story Promise

In order to cement your trust in the importance of the story promise, let’s have a look at a few approaches. 

The Logline and Controlling Premise by Margie Lawson

Margie Lawson recommends encapsulating the story promise in a logline and controlling premise. 

The logline is a sentence of about twenty-five words that includes: 

1. Who the story is about

2. The protagonist’s goal 

3. That which resists the protagonist’s goal

The controlling premise is an amplified logline, three to five sentences long. 

The Story Spine by Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield calls the story promise story spine. He recommends a three-sentence summary. One sentence for the beginning, one for the middle, and one for the end. In addition, the story spine should indicate the climactic value charge or stake and the cause of its turn.

The Story Theme by Storygrid

In the Storygrid universe, the story promise is called story theme. It should reflect the five commandments: the Inciting Incident, the Turning Point, the Crisis, the Climax, and the Resolution. 

The Controlling Idea by Robert McKee

Robert McKee calls the story promise controlling idea, which answers the following questions: 

  • What life value is at stake?
  • What happened in the story that changed the life value?
  • Does it change from negative to positive or vice versa?

The Golden Triangle by James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell calls the story promise golden triangle. He recommends writing the golden triangle in three sentences:

  1. Protagonist and his ordinary life
  2. The Inciting Incident and the problems it causes
  3. The stakes

See also:


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