😌 Gain the storytelling clarity you seek with StoryFlint's Storyteller OS organization system
Dan Harmon Story Circle

Dan Harmon's 8-Step Circle

Storyteller OS users: Clip this video into your Knowledge Base and categorize it under Plot + Structure

Learn how to use Dan Harmon's Story Circle to create a compelling story by breaking down the narrative structure of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" in this video. Writer-director Dan Harmon took centuries of storytelling principles and turned them into an easy-to-use guide for building a compelling story. In this breakdown of the eight simple steps of the story circle, you'll gain a deeper understanding of good narrative structure and become a better storyteller.

Dan Harmon's Story Circle
Plot + Structure


  • The Story Circle has eight simple steps: You, Need, Go, Search, Find, Take, Return, Change.
  • Step 1 establishes the protagonist and the status quo.
  • Step 2 adds a need for your protagonist.
  • Step 3 is where your main character enters the chaos realm of the circle.
  • Step 4 is when the protagonist has to keep searching for what they need.
  • Step 5 is when the protagonist finds what they were looking for, but it doesn't quite go the way they expected.
  • Step 6 is when the protagonist pays a heavy price for what they have taken.
  • Step 7 is when the protagonist returns to the familiar situation.
  • Step 8 is the final showdown where change is made visual.