About the Facilitator:
Story is a Promise
Facilitator: Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson's writing workshop guides
writers toward a keen understanding of the principle underlying all well-told
stories--that a story is both a promise made and a promise kept. His workshop
offers writers of all levels and genres new ideas on the essential elements of
storytelling, including how to begin a story with a dynamic, engaging opening
sentence; creating tension around the introduction of a character; and ensuring
that both the plot and story lines converge into an emotionally fulfilling
Our introduction to the idea of how a story is a
promise uses popular novels for demonstration. Students will discover how
a storyteller 'names' a story's promise in a dramatic way that suggests a need
for resolution and fulfillment.
How do you build narrative tension in a story? Introduce a character facing a dilemma that the character feels compelled to resolve through the story's plot. In our second week, we'll learn how it's done.
Week 3: Your Story Environment
environment in a story can be considered a character in the story. In this week,
we'll discover how setting affects plot.
We will learn to recognize a story's advance toward the resolution of its promise and toward the resolution of its plot.
Week 5: Creating A Story Premise
Discover how to create a story
premise and use it as a tool to develop a strong story foundation.
review of student's work, a chance to ask questions, and opportunities for
students to offer feedback on each other's work.
Materials: Material for the class will be drawn from Bill Johnson's A
Story is a Promise, a writing workbook featured in the June Writer's Digest
Book Club. Students are encouraged to purchase the book, available through
and your local bookseller.
Begins: January 7, 2002
Books recommended on this page are not required reading for participation in the course. Required materials, if any, are listed in the course syllabus.
Story Is a Promise
If you haven't read this fascinating take on the art of dramatic storytelling, you may not be telling great stories! Bill Johnson's book is one of the best we've read on the subject of how to craft an engaging story.
- Coffeehouse Review