The Science of Storytelling is a one day course structured around a continually evolving set of short lectures, each of which adds a new practical insight into storytelling and is illustrated with examples from literature, television, stage-play or film. The course currently includes sections on effective beginnings; the psychology of the flawed self; antagonists and the science of evil; personal projects and the active character; three-dimensional characters; how subconscious character change drives plot; the science of metaphor, show-not-tell and dialogue, theories of plot and the secret of a powerful ending. It features analyses of works by James Baldwin, Jill Soloway, Lars von Trier, Steven Spielberg, Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Grenville, amongst others.  

Whether you’re a literary or genre writer, working for page or the screen, you’ll leave the course with fresh perspectives on your own work and an array of new tools you can practically apply.

This course is hosted by Guardian Masterclasses


Human brains are not data processors, but storytellers. Story is the default way we all understand ourselves and the world around us. It’s the language of the brain. This is why, if we’re not communicating with story, we’re not communicating.

The Science of Storytelling for Business is a unique and practical introduction to storytelling as the ultimate form of human communication. Based on cutting-edge research into psychology and neuroscience, and filled with case studies from Burberry to BP to Save the Children to Dominos Pizza, it shows how story techniques can be used in a wide variety of business contexts, including marketing, internal communication, pitching, change management, leadership and periods of crisis. Will has been invited to present his workshop to many organisations, including Expedia, Unilever and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The course is structured around the five key properties of storytelling.


reveals the secrets of grabbing attention


shows how to keep someone’s attention until the story’s end


explores a key purpose of storytelling – making the complex comprehensible – and shows us how to make ideas ‘sticky’


allows us to peer beneath the surface of the story and discover how to imbue our communication with empathy and emotion


takes us back tens of thousands of years to the earliest roots of storytelling, and shows how an understanding of its evolution is critical

‘Will worked closely with us to develop bespoke storytelling training, which was informative, engaging and impactful. It was a fantastic investment and a great reminder of the power of an effective story.’

Dan Clay (Director, TNS BMRB)

This course is hosted by Guardian Masterclasses