The Rhetoric of Story : Creative Writing Skills
4.2 (30 ratings)
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The Rhetoric of Story : Creative Writing Skills

Learn the 7 foundations of powerful storytelling.
4.2 (30 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,329 students enrolled
Created by Damien Walter
Last updated 7/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • The 7 foundations of powerful storytelling.
  • A scientific insight into story drawing on psychology and neuroscience.
  • How to tell powerful stories as novels, screenplays and more.
  • The wisdom of storytellers dating back 5000 years.
View Curriculum
  • Students will gain the most value if they have a love and passion for great stories.
  • This is an advanced course for writers to take their craft to the next level.


A Udemy "Top Course" in Writing.

Selected as "New & Noteworthy" in Creativity.

***College level instruction, based on 10 years of teaching and research, now available on Udemy.***

"Damien speaks with great clarity about a subject he really understands. His delivery is great. The ideas he delivers are fascinating." Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet Catcher's Daughter.

We live in a Golden Age of story. From blockbuster cinema and bestselling novels like Harry Potter & Hunger Games, to HBO television shows like Game of Thrones and American Gods, great storytelling is loved by billions of people worldwide. Writers who can tell great stories make huge fortunes.

Great storytelling can be learned.

The writers and creators of Star Wars, Breaking Bad or Mass Effect aren't just making things up. Today's most loved stories draw on thousands of years of storytelling techniques, from Aristotle's Catharsis, to the Monomyth of Joseph Campbell, and the Dramatica model used by many of today's highest paid screenwriters.

Based on over a decade of research, and bringing together ideas from today's most successful storytellers and story theorists, The Rhetoric of Story is an essential course for all creative writers, screenwriters and novelists.

The seven foundations of powerful storytelling.

Stories are powerful. Just a few words on a page, or some flickering images on a screen, and for a handful of moments, minutes, or hours we can believe we are another person, living another life, in another world. How do stories have such a powerful, immersive effect?

Just seven core techniques provide the foundation for every great story every told. Together these seven foundations form a "rhetoric of story", that can be used to tell a powerful, immersive story in any medium, from a 5 page short story, to a 10 hour television series.

A scientific insight into story.

Stories are more than just entertainment. As psychology and neuroscience reveal the inner workings of the mind, we're learning how great stories appeal to the deepest drives of the human psyche. The Rhetoric of Story draws on the psychological insights of Freud and Jung, and leading scientific research, to reveal the 7 foundations of powerful storytelling. 

Unleashing the power of story for all.

The poet and novelist Maya Angelou said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." The Rhetoric of Story provides a simple, flexible toolkit to tell any story. Apply the seven foundations to your writing and produce powerful stories that audiences fall in love with.

College grade teaching at internet prices.

The Rhetoric of Story is based on courses taught at under-graduate and post-graduate college level, to students paying thousands of dollars in fees. it makes that knowledge accessible for all, at incredible value.

The 7 foundations of great storytelling, in one easy to follow course.

Ideas you will learn in The Rhetoric of Story:

  • Why no story can be great without a profound INTERNAL change.
  • A psychological insight into self, the engine of story.
  • The key to creating truly human characters: the web of relationship.
  • Conflict, why it must be present, and the 3 levels it must cross.
  • The "fractal" pattern of events; stories within stories.
  • Why it's OK to steal story fact it should be compulsory.
  • How to harness the secret super power of story: Emotion.

Who is this course for?

Anyone who wants to write a book, short story or screenplay and wants to learn the 7 foundations of telling a compelling story.

Writers who have many stories under their belt, but struggle to find an audience for their work.

Creative professionals - journalists, copywriters, bloggers, marketers and more who want to utilise powerful storytelling.

Experts, influencers and business executives who want to harness the power of story in their careers.

Who is the target audience?
  • Writers with ambition who want to work professionally in the writing industries.
  • Novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, game designers seeking bigger audiences.
  • Marketers and executives who want to harness powerful stories in their work.
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Curriculum For This Course
34 Lectures
Introduction - What is the rhetoric of story?
4 Lectures 22:03

What is a story?

The rhetoric of story.

Lecture notes.
Change - Where all story begins.
4 Lectures 41:04
This story is over 5000 years old.

Story is how we understand change.

Archetypal change is the core of story.

Lecture notes.
Self - The engine of story.
4 Lectures 34:46
Know Thyself

The formation of desire

What is the self becoming?

Lecture Notes
Other - The web of relationship.
4 Lectures 36:33
Demeter and Persephone

The web of relationships

The sundered self

Lecture Notes
Conflict - Why can't we all just get along?
4 Lectures 43:04
Achilles and Hector

The levels of conflict

Antagonism and fear

Lecture Notes
Events - Stories within stories.
4 Lectures 44:03
What are stories made of?

What is an event?

Stories within stories.

Lecture Notes
Structure - The key to complex storytelling.
5 Lectures 53:49

Three Act structure.

Acts, Sequences, Scenes and Beats.

Alternate structures.

Lecture Notes
Emotion - The secret super power of story.
4 Lectures 47:16
Catharsis, Kairos and emotion.

Tools for shaping emotion.

Emotion and the seven.

Lecture Notes.
BONUS MATERIAL: Short videos and blog essays.
1 Lecture 06:08
About the Instructor
Damien Walter
4.2 Average rating
29 Reviews
1,329 Students
1 Course
Writer, teacher and story geek.

Damien Walter ( BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA) teaches good writers how to be great. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop taught by Neil Gaiman. He consults widely for businesses in technology, defence, and manufacturing to help them tell great stories.