How to Edit your Vlog with Adobe Premiere Pro

Edward Mullen vlog

Vlogs are all the rage these days — whether you’re shooting day in the life videos, product reviews, unboxing, mukbangs, or some other kind of video, you’ll need some way to edit your footage and get it out to the public. While filming is fairly straight forward, most people walk around with a recording device in their pocket, for many editing remains a mystery. Learning complicated editing software isn’t easy, and there are so many to choose from.

In this post, I’ll show you some basic features in Adobe Premiere Pro, which you can purchase on a monthly or yearly subscription service for as little as 19.99 USD.


  1. Project bin — this is where you put the clips (videos, photos, audio) … you want to use in your project
  2. Source window — this is where you can preview and edit your clips
  3. Program window — this is where you get to preview what your project looks like
  4. Effects bin — this is where you can modify your clips with different effects
  5. Video sequence — this is where you can build your project out of the various clips

Project Bin

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Source Window

How it works

Double click a clip from the Project Bin and it will be displayed in the source window. You can use the marker to scrub through the video and find the spots you want add into your sequence. Isolate it by adding start and end makers. Once your video part is isolated, drag the video only icon into the position you want on your sequence.
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Video Sequence

You can add titles within Premier Pro, but a better selection can be found in After Effects. Download After Effects and Bridge.


  1. File
  2. Adobe Dynamic Link
  3. New After Effects Composition
  4. When After Effects launches, save as Title and Location
  5. On Right hand side, go to Effects > Presets

  1. Choose Animation Presets > Text Presets
  2. Choose Animate In
  3. Choose Browse presets [ = ] icon

  1. This opens Bridge > allows you to preview all the presets
  2. Choose the one you want à double click
  3. Scrub over slider to see sample text
  4. Double click text to change it
  5. Highlight text à modify it the way you want
  6. Save project
  7. Go into Premiere Pro and see it in your source bin
  8. Drag into timeline where desired

NOTE: To Edit Text, right click on the text within the sequence and select ‘Edit Original’:

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Adding a Premiere Title

  1. Go to File
  2. New
  3. Title
  4. Enter title
  5. Modify it accordingly
  6. To save, simply close the window, it’ll auto save in the project bin

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There are other transitions other than crossfade.

  1. Go to Effects tab in the bottom left corner. If it’s not there, go to Windows à Effects
  2. Video Transitions
  3. Dissolve
  4. Cross dissolve
  5. Drag and drop

Shortcut – Ctrl D. Select the clip edge so that you get this red marker, then press Ctrl D.

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Scale Images to Fit

Sometimes when you import an image, it is way too big and it looks zoomed in. What you need to do is go to:

  1. Edit
  2. Preferences
  3. General
  4. Select ‘Default scale to frame size’

NOTE: For clips already in sequence, right click and select fit to scale.
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  1. File
  2. Export
  3. Media
  4. AVC – Intra 100 1080i
  5. Format H.264
  6. 1920 x 1080
  7. Frame rate (make sure same throughout)

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Adding Zoom in / Zoom out Effect on Photos

  1. Select a photo
  2. Click on Effect controls
  3. Select Scale and ensure you click the stop watch icon, which effects scale over time. By default, each clip is 5 seconds
  4. Change scale from the beginning, then move the scrubber to the end and change scale again. This is what will happen over time
  5. Change position if necessary. This does not affect animation

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Layering a Smaller Video

  1. Upload video
  2. Add video to sequence
  3. Select video
  4. Go to Effects
  5. Set positioning and scale

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How to Speed up a Video

  1. Select the rate stretch tool
  2. Select the clip in the sequence
  3. Stretch or compress the clip
  4. If you want your video to be twice as fast, compress it by half

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How to Crop a Video

  1. Go to Effects > Video Effects > Transform > Crop
  2. Drag and drop crop onto the clip you want to crop

  1. Use the Left, Top, Right, Bottom to adjust the black borders
  2. Use Position to re-centre the now-cropped frame

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How to Change Position Over Time

  1. Select the Position stop watch icon
  2. Use the scrub to begin at a certain point in the clip
  3. Add marker
  4. Set position
  5. Use the scrub to end at a certain point in the clip
  6. Add marker
  7. Set position

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Razor Tool

  1. The Razor tool allows you to slice up a clip in the sequence for editing purposes

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Ripple Delete

Ripple Delete is where you edit a video (say, make it shorter) and then there’s a gap left over. Ripple delete allows you to close the gap.

  1. Right click on the gap and select Ripple Delete

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Zoom In and Out of Sequence

  1. Hold Alt and scroll with mouse

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How to Add a Different Colour Background

  1. File
  2. New
  3. Colour Matte
  4. Put at base layer
  5. May need to crop top layer videos

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How to Crop

  1. Effects tab in bottom left corner
  2. Either type in ‘crop’ or go to Video Effect > Transform > Crop
  3. Drag and drop onto clip
  4. Then go to Effect Control
  5. Crop accordingly

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How to Adjust Volume on a Clip

  1. Place clip in timeline
  2. Right click on clip
  3. Select Audio Gain

  1. Change ‘Select to Gain’ level

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How to Copy and Paste

  1. Select one or more clips in the sequence
  2. Choose Edit > Copy
  3. In the Timeline panel, position the playhead at the point in the sequence where you want to paste a copy of the clips
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To overwrite the pasted clips, choose Edit > Paste
    • To insert the pasted clips, choose Edit > Paste Insert

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Exporting Hi-Res

  1. Export > Media
  2. Change form H.264
  3. Change Preset to HD 1080p 29.97
  4. To change name, double click Output Name

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Writing Hack: Write a Story in Half the Time

When you do anything long enough, naturally you get better at it and discover techniques that can help you do it more effectively.

After writing a dozen or so books, I’ve discovered a really helpful technique for writing stories quickly. While outlining is nothing new, there is a next level of outlining that I have discovered that really speeds up the writing process.

I like to think of chapters as two types: plot drivers and connective tissues.

Plot Driver chapters move the plot forward. They are the meat of the story and focus on action, critical discoveries or revelations, plot twists, etc. In other words, some event happens that adds another step for the character to walk on. Without these kinds of chapters driving your story, your story doesn’t really go anywhere.

Connective Tissue chapters aren’t so focused on moving the plot, they are more expository. They explain or introduce characters, motivations, backstories, etc. If plot drivers are the meat of a story, connective tissues are what holds a story together and gives it meaning. These kinds of chapters are important too because they allow a reader to connect with the characters in meaningful ways. The reader can become invested in the character’s journey by learning more about them. They identify with them, root for them, feel the tension when a character faces conflict, and so on.

Now, I can see some of you eagerly waiting to point out other kinds of chapters, or say that one chapter can do both. That’s true — a really dialogue heavy chapter or one that discusses a character’s backstory can be both connective and a driver. I’m talking in general.

Here’s the hack: To speed up the writing process, I skip a lot of the connective tissue chapters, or what I sometimes call ‘blah, blah, blah’ chapters. Instead, I write the plot drivers first.

The key is to not ignore them completely, but to put in placeholder text — bullet points for how the chapter would look like had it be written. So it would look something like this:

Chapter One

  • Intro to character
  • Rushing out the door, late for school
  • Minor incident on the way to school
  • Arrives late
  • Some dialogue with a classmate
  • Some other stuff
  • Comes home later in a bad mood

Chapter Two

Molly took it upon herself to enact revenge on the girl who teased her on the bus. Taking out her notebook, she devised a plan. First, she would…

Chapter Three

  • Show Molly home life
  • Brother stuff
  • Mom and dad stuff
  • Dinner conversation
  • Goes to her room
  • Checks message on phone
  • Friend comes over
  • Dialogue with friend

Chapter Four

It was the day Molly had been waiting for. After discussing her plan with Gina, she was all set. It would go down today at lunch…


So this is obviously a made up example, I don’t have a story with a character named Molly. But you can see how the style changes between these four chapters. For the connective tissue chapters, I breeze through them with bullet points, and with the plot drivers, I take my time and write the entire chapter long form.

Also, notice how in chapter two, I mention Molly wanting to enact revenge on the girl who teased her on the bus. In the previous chapter, all I had was a bullet that said, ‘Minor incident on the bus’. I didn’t even know about the teasing, but now that I do, I can go back and describe that scene. Working backward is often much easier than working forward because you can avoid that dreadful question writers often ask themselves, ‘what happens next?’

I don’t actually need to get bogged down with the connective tissue stuff. I can use the bullet points to inform what will generally happen in the plot driver chapters. I can always make changes and one can . This allows me to move really quickly through the story. Once I have the entire story completed, I can go back and colour in between the lines.

The bullet points are sufficient — they can have a little or a lot of detail, the point is to get on with the plot drivers so that I can finish the first draft of my story quickly. The reason this is important is because when you’re writing a novel (as with many things in life) momentum is huge. If you can see the finish line, it will motivate you further to continue.

The second reason momentum is important is because your ideas will be strengthened because they will be top of my and current. If it takes you three years to complete a novel, then your connection to the material will likely be vague and distant. You won’t necessarily remember what you wrote a year ago or even two months ago. But if you can write the entire novel in 4 – 6 weeks, your ideas will be cohesive and current. Hopefully that makes sense.

What you may find is that once the entire story is complete, you can get a better sense of who your character is because you have the complete perspective of what they’ve been through and what choices they’ve made, and what they’ve had to overcome. So the plot drivers can actually inform the connective tissue chapters.

If you want to get really crazy, you can plot out your entire story with this method. You can put in bullet points of every chapter. The analogy here would be akin to sketching. You loosely pencil in the outline without committing to any of the lines.

The Best Alien Book of 2017

The best alien book 2017 I AM ROME

The Best Alien Book of 2017 hands down is ‘I am Rome’. How do I know this? Because I wrote it! You may think I’m more than a little biased, and you would be right, but hear me out.

The impetus of this book came from the TV show Person of Interest. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think… this seems very Batman-y. I did some research and discovered that I was not the only person to think this. The show was created by Jonathan Nolan, who wrote The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). I then discovered an interview on YouTube where someone asked him if the show was supposed to be like Batman and he said yes, it was an homage to Batman.

Batman is essentially a billionaire and a crime fighter. What Nolan decided to do for the show was break those identities apart into two separate characters. I thought this was a great idea so I decided to steal it. I wrote ‘I am Rome’ as an homage to the greatest superhero the world has ever known — Superman. Superman is essentially a farm boy and an alien. I am Rome separates those two identities into individual characters.

Here’s the back blurb:

Seventeen-year old pizza delivery boy Joe Smith lived a simple life. He had a bike, a job, and a crush on a girl, but that was about it. He didn’t have dreams beyond working on the family farm and continuing to live in the same rural community in which he was born. Until one night when everything changed.

After finishing his shift at the pizzeria, he headed home, riding his bike down a long and lonesome stretch of highway. Guided by the dim glow from the moonlight and a small light affixed to his helmet, he battled fatigue as he struggled to peddle the long distance home.

When a strange object flew overhead fast and low, and crashed into the neighbour’s cornfield, Joe had to investigate. Thinking it was a small plane or a downed satellite, Joe rushed to the scene of the crash. What he discovered was far beyond anything he’d ever seen or even imagined before. The strange craft was not from this planet.

Hidden among the tall stalks of corn, Joe watched with caution. From the rubble emerged a wounded alien.

If this doesn’t sound like the best alien book, then I don’t know what does. Check it out on Amazon or anywhere else fine ebooks are sold.

A bit about me — I’m an author, blogger, YouTuber, and podcaster from Vancouver, Canada who is perhaps best known for my debut novel, THE ART OF THE HUSTLE and my techno-thriller series PRODIGY. I’m also a Wattpad Star so you can check me out there as well.

The Art of the Hustle 2


the_art_of_the hustle_2_cover

Coming Soon!

When you’re on top, there’s always someone wanting to bring you down.

The meteoric rise of Unity Inc. catapulted Trevor Morrison into a stratosphere of success few ever achieve. Now as the name and face of a global empire, Trevor was receiving a lot of attention and praise for creating one of the largest financial tech companies in the world. For the first time, he was financially free, free to pursue his passions, and passionate about the woman of his dreams. He felt as though he was on top of the world and finally the master of his destiny.

However, the higher a person climbs, the harder they tend to fall. After experiencing a sudden and unexpected setback, Trevor once again hit rock bottom. Amid his misfortune, he inadvertently stumbles upon an alternative path to success as he questions his life’s purpose and the true meaning of happiness.

Equipped with a new perspective and lease on life, he returns to his roots to take on the greatest challenge he has yet to face.

The Art of the Hustle 2 – Coming 2017

In December 2010, I sat down with a simple idea to write my debut novel. Six weeks later, I finished that book — The Art of the Hustle.

Published in 2012, The Art of the Hustle became wildly popular and changed the course of my life forever. At that time, I was studying for the LSATs and wanted to pursue a career in law. However, with the success of that book, I decided instead to pursue a career in writing.

In December 2016, I sat down with an idea to write a sequel to that book. Six weeks later (today) I finished that book — The Art of the Hustle 2.

It’s a very exciting day for me and I hope to soon share this story with you all. I am very happy with how the first draft turned out and in the coming months I will polish it and hope that it lives up to its predecessor.

Thank you to all those who have bought, read, voted, commented, or shared any of my books. I appreciate the support immensely. It’s because of you that allows me to do what I love, which is to tell stories.

Thank you!

Edward Mullen

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What I Learned from Almost Dying this Week

This past week has been really enlightening for me and I thought I would share the lesson(s) I learned.

I got really sick, and I still am – I’m like patient zero over here, don’t come near me! I started feeling unwell last Wednesday and by Friday I was convinced something was seriously wrong. I went to the doctor and got a blood test (haven’t heard back yet), and then spent the better part of a week in bed.

Each day I would awake with the sun at 5:30 and watch it set at night. It was like Groundhog Day. I re-lived the same day over and over and over. On several occasions I contemplated taking my own life to stop the madness (not serious considerations, but if I felt this way on a camping trip and I had a gun, I’d probably shoot myself in the face and let the river take me out to sea).

What I felt was like someone with giant hands had magically slipped their way under my skin, through the back of my skull and was now cradling my brain, and then with their big-ass banana-fingers, they would squeeze my puny brain. Then I had massively swollen lymph nodes, which I learned are not just in your neck. I was like, ‘Yo fam, I think I have armpit cancer!’ I have these massive lumps in my armpits (thanks Google for talking me off a ledge with the armpit cancer). I felt weak, tired, sore, and sweaty. I would fluctuate between high fever and bone-chilling shakes.

Mealtimes were interesting. I would routinely have to coax myself into eating the smallest of portions. I’d be like, ‘Come on man, just eat one piece of carrot. Can you do that for me?’ Spoon shaking as I lift it to my mouth. ‘Good. You’re doing so good. Okay bro, listen, I need you to do the same thing, this time why don’t we go for one of those big-ass potato pieces. Great. Perfect. Now slurp up some of this high-sodium bullshit Campbells calls a broth…’ This was my internal dialogue for each meal – a quarter of a can of soup. I could never figure out why I was always hungry.

The desire to eat was often, but the opportunities to eat were rare. Occasionally the clouds would part and the sun would shine down on me and I would have these brief hour-long windows (usually twice a day, almost like clockwork), where I would feel reasonably decent (I could stand and walk without wanting to die!) and I would take advantage of these opportunities. I would wash dishes, do meal prep, bathe, etc. Out of necessity, I even ventured outside (in the rain mind you) on one crazy occasion to re-up on supplies (meds and soup). While these windows were brief and few, they were the only thing that helped me stay alive since I don’t have the luxury to hire a live-in nurse or caretaker. But inevitably, the darkness would return and I would be in a state of head-splitting agony, sweat-drenched clothes, and mind-numbing delirium.

Sometimes during these hour-long windows I would feel so good that I would eat a steak sandwich and down a fruit smoothie. Kind of like I stole a base in baseball. It was my way of giving the middle finger to the virus, which I could feel pulsating through my body. But the virus would have the last laugh.

You know how when you get sick and each day that passes you usually feel slightly better than you did the day before? Well, not with this virus. It kept me down like an oppressive master. I felt like shit for seven days straight and I wasn’t getting any better. And if you’re thinking that seven days off from work is awesome, it’s not. It’s not like I was watching GoT all day. I was ‘sleeping’ for 20 hours per day. I learned to sleep on towels, and to have a change of clothes already laid out for me to change into in the middle of the night because I would soak everything with sweat and then shake violently to stay warm. I recalled a line from Les Stroud Survivor man, ‘You sweat, you die’. Well, Les, you lied – I sweated and did not die!

Anyways, this went on and on until yesterday something was different. During one of my brief windows of feeling decent, the darkness never returned. I was so happy. I still felt like shit, but I was very happy. I got a little ambitious and even did 2 chin-ups followed up by mandatory flexing in the mirror. This was the first sign in a week that my health was trending upward.

I had been cooped up in isolation for so long that I was desperate to get out and interact with the world. But in this solitude I discovered the first of many truths. Namely, I was essentially living my cat’s life – sleep all day, eat shitty food, and have no female visitors. What the fuck kind of life is this? What kind of cruel existence have I created for this poor creature? So perhaps when I’m thinking more soberly I will consider getting Socrates a girlfriend or a playmate. I may also consider taking him on adventures. I don’t know.

Anyways, back to me. So if any of you woke up feeling as I did today, it would be an easy decision to call in sick. I feel like shit. However, compared to the past week, I feel markedly better. So I went into work today with a fresh haircut, clean shave, and a smile. Big mistake. I pissed off the virus and he’s like, ‘what the fuck, bro. You think this is over? You think you won?’ I only lasted a couple hours before I went home with my tail tucked. I did notice that being in public during rush hour in downtown Vancouver was really shocking to my system. I had been operating on a sloth-like pace for a week. Then I get thrown into the maddening beehive of commerce and I was like, ‘Yo, why are you people walking so fast?’

The important lesson (aside from my new perspective on my cat’s life) was that life is very temporary. I’m healthy as shit, and I felt like I almost died. And that could happen any time, any day, to any one of us. Some bullshit virus could come along and snuff you out of existence like nothing. And the world will keep on moving.

So my plea to you is this – and I know you’ve heard it before. If you are one of those cheeto-finger, mouth-breathers who doesn’t take your health seriously and only exists to sit in front of your TV and go to work, stop and ask yourself – what are we doing? Life is worth living. We are only on this planet a short amount of time. Pay no mind to gossip, or get consumed with time-wasting endeavours that don’t push progress. Don’t allocate large portions of your day to people who do not enhance you or believe in you. Don’t live in the past with regret.


The 7 Elements of Great Storytelling

book-863418_1280What are the elements that make a story great? Recently, I sat down and decided to write the core elements that I feel make a story great, and I came up with seven.

1.      Writing

Writing a great story naturally involves great writing. This is why I put this as the very first element. If you’re thinking about having a career in writing, your writing must be good – a base level of proficiency should consist of:

  • Fluidity
  • Clarity
  • Purpose
  • Proper spelling and grammar
  • Expansive vocabulary
  • Appropriate word choice
  • Logical coherence

The good news is that almost anyone can reach this level with practice, which is actually encouraging. Unlike other disciplines such as singing or playing in the NBA, writing well has less to do with natural talent or physical attributes, it’s just a matter of putting in the effort. Stephen King wrote in his book ‘On Writing’, “the first million words are practice,” and I believe this to be more or less true. If you put in the work and show up every day, your writing will eventually improve.


2.      Originality

Your idea or story has to be somewhat original and interesting. I say ‘somewhat original’ because it’s very difficult to come up with a completely original and interesting idea. Most great storytellers borrow ideas from others. It’s okay to be inspired by others and borrow ideas – I borrow ideas all the time, but I make reference of them to give credit where it’s due. In my Prodigy book, I use themes from Plato’s Republic, but I make sure to reference them to let the reader know that I’m not trying to steal Plato’s ideas and pass them off as my own. Instead, I’m paying homage to something that inspired me.

To improve originality, it’s important to be well-rounded in terms of your interests and your scope of knowledge. So try to be very broad with your understanding of things, especially areas where you have relatively no knowledge, whether it’s science, religion, cultures, economics, history, geography… It’s also helpful to be:

  • World travelled
  • Read books
  • Hang out with different types of people
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Watch documentaries
  • Challenge your opinions and assumptions – be critical and objective about your thoughts
  • Be observant about the world
  • Develop a new hobby such as archery, yoga, ballet, rock climbing…

Over time, you will uncover things, learn new truths, and develop original thinking in areas where you would otherwise not have gone down if you just stayed in this narrow lane of topics that interest you.

man walking

3.      Characters

Your characters have to be well-defined and relatable. Part of having well-defined characters means they should each have their own distinct voice and unique set of characteristics that separate them from other characters in your story. Here are some things to consider:

  • Your characters shouldn’t all sound alike
  • Each character should have their own point of view
  • Your reader should be able to tell who’s talking without you telling them
  • Your characters should generally behave in a consistent manner

One method I use, and a lot of other writers use, is character profiles. These are simply one or two page summaries of each of your main characters. Start by selecting an image of what your character looks like (you can draw it if you like or find an image online). Next, write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What are their beliefs or values?
  • What is their background?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their interests or hobbies?
  • What are their opinions?

You can then have a few quotables, something like, “I’m working part-time and going to school to become a doctor,” “My girlfriend is a painter,” “I really don’t like how lazy I am, I want to change.” This will help cement the idea of their true nature in your head.

When you take the time to write character profiles, you can put your characters in any situation and have very good understanding of what they would do and how they would behave in that situation.

Biker through tunnel

4.      Pace

The pacing of your story has to be such that the reader does not get bored easily. Make them want to keep reading. I often use the metaphor of a monkey swinging from vine to vine – when it swings from one vine, and that vine has reached its maximum extension, there should be another vine within reach, ready to be grabbed and allow the monkey to carry its momentum forward.

So if you have a really lengthy and verbose opening that describes the house the person grew up in, the colour of the carpet, their lovely neighbours… and you go on and on and on about minutia, then it’s going to be boring for many readers – it’d be like starting a race with your feet in mud. Why have your readers slog through mud at all. They should be able to take off with your story and maintain that momentum (or have the momentum increase) until the very last page.

If you want your book to hit with a lot of people, you need to hook them in immediately and maintain a steady pace. This may not come easy to you in the first draft, but it can be done in the editing process. For instance, maybe in the revision you decide that the first three chapters can be combined into one chapter, or better yet, one paragraph. This gets the story started as deep into the story as possible.

girl reading


5.      Story Arc

The story arc must be suspenseful. By nature, human beings are really attracted to suspense. In most stories, the hero always wins, and yet despite knowing this, we still love watching movies and reading books. That’s because it’s not necessarily the payoff at the end that we live for, even though that is satisfying. What we truly crave is the uncertainly of the drama.

In his book called, ‘The Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama’, David Mamet talks about this hypothetically perfect ball game in which he does a very good job of describing the kind of natural tension that we love.

He says, “The perfect ball game – what do we wish for in the perfect ball game? Do we wish for our team to take the field in thrash the opposition from the first moment to the final gun? No, we wish for a closely fought match that contains many satisfying reversals, but which can be seen retroactively to always tend toward a satisfying and inevitable conclusion. We wish, in effect, for a three act structure.

“In act one, our team takes the field and indeed prevails over its opponents, and we, its participants feel pride. But before the pride can mature into arrogance, this new thing occurs – our team makes an error. The other side is inspired and pushes forward with previously unsuspected strength and imagination. Our team weakens and retreats.

“In act two of this perfect game, our team is shaken and confused. They forget the rudiments of cohesion and strategy and address that made them strong. They fall deeper and deeper into a slew of despond. All contrary efforts seem naught and just when we think that the tide may have turned back the other way, a penalty or adverse decision is rendered, nullifying their gains. What could be worse?


“But wait. Just when all else seems irredeemably lost, help comes, which is act three. A player, previously believe to be second rate, emerges with a block, a throw, a run, and offers a glimmer of that possibility of victory. Yes, only a glimmer. But it is sufficient to rouse the team to something approaching its best efforts and the team indeed rallies. Our team brings the score back even and makes the play that would put them ahead, only to have it called back yet again by fate, or by its lieutenant, a wrong-headed, ignorant or malicious official.

“But see, the lessons of the second act were not lost on our team. People might say that it’s too late or the clock is too far run down, our heroes are too tired… yet they rouse themselves for one last effort, one last try, and do they prevail? Do they triumph with scant seconds left on the clock? Oh, they do. They all but prevail. As the final seconds of the play, the outcome rests on the lone warrior – that hero, that champion, that person upon whom in the final moment all our hopes devolve. That final play, run, pass, penalty kick. But wait. That hero that would have been chosen for the task, that champion is injured. No one is left on the bench…”

There is the perfect game as described by David Mamet. It’s very interesting and obviously points to these kinds of ebbs and flows, this tide, this yin this yang, this push pull tension where they’re up, they’re down, they’re up again, they’re down again. And just when it appears there is no hope, somehow by all odds stacked against them, they come back and become triumphant in the most unsuspecting way in the final seconds of the game. So if you can, your story could follow a similar arc as well.


6.      Conclusion

Your story must have a satisfying ending, which is indeed difficult. When I write, a lot of times I don’t know how the story will end. I may have an idea, but I usually discover it when I get there. I just wing it and hope for the best. It’s difficult to have a satisfying, original, and unpredictable ending that pays off for the reader. If you build up the story adequately, the ending must deliver so that the previous efforts are not lost. You want your reader to finish the book with a smile, unable to contain their joy – they can’t wait to tell their friends, read the sequel, learn everything they can about you… A good ending can also save, or make up for a lackluster climax. An average story with an amazing twist ending can bolster the story in ways that no other part of the book can.


7.      *Bonus* — Timing

If you incorporate the first six elements of storytelling into your book, you may come close to creating a masterpiece. However, I think one bonus element could be included in the list that may elevate a great book to a nearly perfect book – and that is well-timed comedy or drama in appropriate places. By this I mean, if you’re writing a really dramatic scene with lots of tension, a great way to keep the reader engaged is to inject some comedic relief (or if your book is funny, inject some drama in certain places). Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an excellent example of this. And if done well, it could really take your book to the next level.

So there they are, the 7 elements of great storytelling. If you have any other insights or feel I missed some, please let me know in the comments below.

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