The But and Therefore Rule

From Weekly I/O#15

The But and Therefore Rule for Storytelling

Article: Storytelling Advice from the Creators of South Park: The But & Therefore Rule

This article is about the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, sharing their storytelling advice: The But & Therefore Rule. Write our stories with words like "but" and "therefore" to replace "and then".

If we can put the words "and then" in-between each plot or description of the story we want to tell, "We're fucked" as Trey Parker would say. Stories without cause-and-effect tend to be boring.

In contrast, if we put "but" and "therefore" in-between the scenes, we create a chain of events that reacts to each other and links the story together. Therefore, as Nathan Weller explained in the article, "the story/plot builds momentum and tension based on everything else that has happened previously, not because of the arbitrary whims of the writer."

You can also find an example of swapping the “and then” with “but & therefore” here.

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