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Story Structure and Dan Harmon’s Circles

Most storytellers are reluctant to admit this, but the success of any good story lies with one thing: structure!

Whether that story is being told in a novel, a movie, a song or a TV show, as a storyteller you always want to be taking your audience on an emotional journey. In a movie, this journey is structured around three acts. In TV, a medium reliant on structure more than any other, ad breaks provide the skeleton for this structure.

Dan Harmon, creator of NBC sitcom Community, takes a more unconventional approach to structure. Mirroring the Hero’s Journey and the three act structure, Harmon simplified story structure to eight simple steps that he applied to a circle model.

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