How to tell an epic story in 5 steps

Blog posts, press releases and social media updates may seem like a far cry from great literary writing, but following this five-step model can help you take them up a notch.

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I recently read an article, however, about what comprises an epic relationship. The author surmised that, at a distance, sweeping romances and lifelong relationships are indeed epic, but upon closer look are made up of 20,000 ordinary Wednesdays.

In marketing and PR, we are always looking for the next big story or angle for our product, service or business. That’s our job. But a truly sweeping story—one that snares us from the first gripping sentence to the neatly resolved end—can’t always be full of narrative climax.

Every story has an arc or dramatic structure, and each piece must fit with the whole (what good old Walter Fisher would call narrative probability).

Gustav Freytag, a German novelist and playwright, identified five parts of the dramatic arc after he studied Greek and Shakespearean dramas. Each part pushes the audience through the story, and plays an important role in how effectively the story’s climax or main idea is conveyed to the audience:

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