This series reveals what I consider to be the ESSENTIAL components of any great story. These critical elements will be familiar to you if you’ve followed my writing, teaching or coaching for any length of time. But my goal is not to be original; it’s to ensure you have a firm foundation on which to build an emotionally powerful and persuasive story. These are the principles you must master if you want to impact people’s lives – and increase your revenue – whether you’re creating a film, TV episode, novel, non-fiction or instructional book, speech, webinar, blog or sales pitch.

Your successful story must have a hero – a protagonist that your readers and audiences will be captivated by, identify with, and root for as he or she strives to achieve some compelling desire.

Heroes are not heroic when introduced. They will struggle with some of the same everyday problems and fears we all do at times. But they will become heroic by putting everything on the line in pursuit of whatever goals they are determined to achieve. In this way they will go from ordinary to extraordinary.

Your hero must be the most important character in your story, the one whose desire defines the plot, who is on the screen or the page more than any other, and the one your followers or prospects connect with most deeply.

It is possible to have two of these characters within the same story (or even more, though the difficulties of creating such a story multiply), as long as they both meet all of the qualities listed above.

And whether the story you’re telling is about a fictional hero, a real person, or even yourself, we must somehow – on some conscious or subconscious level – see ourselves in this character.

Once you know who your hero is, you’re ready to begin building your story.

– Michael Hauge