Why Not Knowing the Answer to This Question Could Hinder Your Storytelling – Insights from Daniel Calvisi

I can’t assume you are familiar with me or my blog, so an intro in the First Person Singular (I, me, my, mine) would not be appropriate. However, I can write a third-person intro using your name and my SEO expertise. Here’s the revised intro: “Discovering the answer to a vital question can be the key to unlocking impactful storytelling. In this blog post, we delve into the insights of renowned storytelling expert, Daniel Calvisi. Join us as we explore the critical question that, if left unanswered, could hinder your ability to captivate audiences and craft remarkable narratives.

Why Not Knowing the Answer to This Question Could Hinder Your Storytelling – Insights from Daniel Calvisi


As an experienced Script Doctor, Writing Coach, and Author of Story Maps books, I have had the privilege of working with writers from various backgrounds and skill levels. Throughout my career, I have come across a common setback that can hinder the success of a story: the failure to answer a crucial question. In this article, I will shed light on why not knowing the answer to this question could impede your storytelling, and provide insights from my own expertise on how to overcome this obstacle.

The Importance of Defining Your Story’s Theme

One of the first steps in developing a compelling story is defining its theme. The theme serves as the central idea or message that the writer intends to convey to the audience. Without a clear understanding of the theme, the story may lack focus and coherence, making it difficult for readers or viewers to connect with the narrative.

Surprising the Reader: A Crucial Aspect of Good Writing

A great story needs to surprise its audience. Readers and viewers are constantly seeking fresh and unexpected elements that keep them engaged. Failing to deliver these surprises can result in a lackluster story that fails to captivate its audience. As a writer, you must master the art of surprise and incorporate unique story elements that catch your audience off guard.

The Skill of Coming up with Unique and Surprising Elements

I firmly believe that the ability to generate unique and surprising story elements is a skill that can be nurtured and developed. Through my coaching and webinars, I teach writers various techniques to help them create compelling stories. These techniques include brainstorming sessions, character mapping exercises, and exploring different perspectives to unlock fresh ideas that can add depth and intrigue to your storytelling.

Aligning Genre and Passion for Effective Storytelling

While it’s important to surprise your audience, it is equally crucial to align the genre and topic of your story with your own passion and interest. Writing a story in a genre that resonates with you allows you to bring your own unique perspective and enthusiasm to the narrative. When you are genuinely invested in your own story, it shines through in your writing, making it more engaging for the audience.

The Power of Purpose: A Strong Reason for Telling Your Story

Behind every great story lies a strong reason for wanting to tell it. Understanding and articulating this reason is pivotal in crafting a compelling narrative. It could be a personal experience, a societal issue, or a desire to entertain and inspire. Whatever the reason may be, it acts as the driving force behind your storytelling, fueling your determination to bring your story to life.

Connecting with Daniel Calvisi

As someone passionate about storytelling, I encourage you to explore my work and resources to enhance your own writing journey. I am Daniel P. Calvisi, and I have had the honor of working as a Story Analyst for major studios such as Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax Films, and New Line Cinema. My expertise lies in coaching writers, teaching webinars on writing for film and television, and speaking at writing conferences.

Many of my clients have gone on to work with top networks and studios, such as Netflix, HBO, Warner Brothers, Disney, Sony, ABC, Showtime, and Apple TV+. Armed with a degree in Film and Television from New York University, I currently reside in Los Angeles. I share my knowledge and insights through various platforms, including my YouTube channel, website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram profile.

If you are seeking guidance and support on your writing journey, I encourage you to check out my other related videos on Film Courage, become a member or a patron, and listen to the Film Courage podcast. These resources can provide you with additional tips and inspiration as you strive to improve your storytelling skills.


As a writer, it is essential to know the answer to the question “Why am I telling this story?” Failing to define your story’s theme, surprise your audience, and align your passion with the genre can hinder the success of your storytelling endeavors. However, by embracing techniques and insights from industry experts like myself, you can overcome these obstacles and create compelling narratives that resonate with your audience.

Unique FAQs After The Conclusion

  1. Question: How can I determine the theme of my story?
    Answer: Determining the theme of your story requires introspection and an understanding of the central message you want to convey. Reflect on the core values, conflicts, and lessons you want your audience to take away from the story.

  2. Question: Can anyone become a skilled writer?
    Answer: Yes, with dedication, practice, and the right guidance, anyone can become a skilled writer. Writing is a craft that can be honed over time, and continuous learning and improvement are essential.

  3. Question: How can I surprise my audience in storytelling?
    Answer: Surprise your audience by introducing unexpected twists, complex characters with hidden motives, and unique story elements that challenge their expectations. Think outside the box and experiment with unconventional narrative structures and plot developments.

  4. Question: Is it necessary to follow established writing formulas for success?
    Answer: While established writing formulas can provide a helpful framework, it’s important to strike a balance between adhering to them and infusing your own creative voice and unique ideas. Find a method that works for you and allows your storytelling to stand out.

  5. Question: How do I know if my story aligns with my passion and interest?
    Answer: Reflect on your personal interests, values, and the topics that resonate with you. If your story explores themes and genres that genuinely excite and engage you, it is likely aligned with your passion. Trust your instincts and write from a place of authenticity.

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