I’m trying out the Story Spine created by Kenn Adams a couple of decades ago. It’s a brief layout of the traditional three-part story arc – pity, fear, and catharsis.

Story Spine

My Story Spine is for the KQED Teach program and I’ve used a novel I wrote because I wanted to see if I was creating a fully developed story. That’s not to say it’s well written or not, exactly. It would only show me if the story has all the necessary components for the story arc itself.

Here it is:

M Stands for… Something

Once upon a time there was a lonely man, Roger, who lived in an apartment and worked at a used bookstore.

Every day Roger would do as little work as possible and waste his time sitting on the couch and watching TV with his friend, Umberto.

But, one day another tenant in the apartment building dies mysteriously.

Because of that Roger is motivated to find out how the man died, thinking he was murdered.

Because of that Roger motivates his friend, Umberto, and other people around him to help find out who killed the man.

Because of that Roger understands that he’s been wasting away doing nothing, and getting up to accomplish something is what makes life worth living.

Until finally his investigation ends and he realizes there never was a murder. He was wrong the entire time about the death.

And, ever since then Roger is able to accept failure and to keep himself motivated and never stop trying.

Give it a try. Use a movie or a book you’ve read recently.

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