Posted by: John Adams | November 19, 2007

Donald Miller on Story

Author Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, To Own a Dragon) spoke at Mars Hill Church this week on the theme of story. The principles of what makes a great story can be applied to what makes a great life. Some memorable principles:

  • The protagonist of a good story can have problems — a troubled past, a low self-esteem, or a bedeviling weakness. What a good protagonist can never do is value himself more than others. Once he does, the story is ruined.
  • Fear is the first enemy of any protagonist. The only way to live without fear is to want nothing. Great protagonists always have ambition, and therefore they always have fear to overcome. Overcoming the fear is what makes or breaks the story.
  • Every story ends either as a comedy or a tragedy. A positive resolution to the climax makes a comedy; a negative outcome is the formula for a tragedy.
  • The best stories come out of a situation when the protagonist has the most to risk. A protagonist who sacrifices his life for the sake of others is the secret to the greatest kind of story.

These are just a few points from a very entertaining message. Go listen to it.



  1. I really enjoyed that message.

  2. have you heard of the new book Brown Like Coffee at ?

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