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Establish a pattern

David Gane
David Gane

The first time something happens, it stands alone on its own. It is unique and special.

The second time it happens, now we see a pattern. We're confident we know what's going to happen next.

If, on the third time, the pattern repeats, we begin to grow bored. We already know this. There is no new information coming our way.

However, if the pattern changes on the third time, we sit up in our seats, realizing something interesting is happening.

A character's actions create patterns, and the moment the pattern shifts, it indicates a change in the character.

Learning to establish patterns and break them is a cornerstone of all good storytelling, and the better you learn to form and change them, the more interesting it becomes for readers and viewers.


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Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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