Human beings love a good story. Our brains are hardwired for a tantalizing tale from our caveman ancestors huddled around a roaring fire to viewers today cozying up to a computer consuming YouTube videos. Our primal attachment to story explains why all compelling stories share the same fundamental characteristics. They are a literal turn-on for our story-loving minds.

We define the Seven Essential Elements of highly successful stories: The Hero, Their Flaw, Their Goal that establishes The Stakes, Conflict, Escalation, Twists and Suspense. We see them in action in films, but they are powerful building blocks in all storytelling mediums, present and past, from the humble anecdote, to the binge-worthy TV series, to the epic novel trilogy. Understanding these story components and how they work individually, as well as collectively, empowers writers to create enthralling tales by harnessing the primal power of story.