7-Sentence Story: “Architecture”

Once upon a time, on a world remarkably unlike our own, a castle built itself at the top of a hill. And every day, from purple moon to red moon, the castle would lower its drawbridge. Until one day, a sympathetic road decided to go out of its way and create an extension to the castle. Because of this, a visiting chariot became confused and brought its passengers to the castle. Because of this, the passengers decided to enter the castle to ask someone for proper directions. Finally, the castle had successfully ensnared occupants. And ever since that day, the castle’s drawbridge has never been seen lowered.

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[Words: 107]
[About the Exercise]

7-Sentence Story: “To Taste”

Once upon a time, in a land whose name has faded from all memory, two brothers owned a famous restaurant. And every day, people would travel for hours and bask in the smell of foreign spices that danced from the kitchen to precede plates of sculpted flavor. Until one day, a local peasant girl noticed that people who ate at the restaurant vanished within a week of their meal. Because of this, she began to investigate and discovered that no one could remember when the restaurant was built or when the brothers arrived to town. Because of this, the brothers were exposed as two malevolent creatures that mixed potions into the restaurant’s food which, after a few days in the bloodstream, made human flesh taste better. Finally, the local humans exiled the creatures by using an ancient ritual found in the diary of a deceased food critic. And ever since that day, parents in the land stopped their children’s naughty behavior by threatening to take them to dinner at a nice restaurant.

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[Words: 172]
[About the Exercise]

7-Sentence Story

Source: I was first introduced to 7-Sentence Story at a practice for G.U.T.S. (Gonzaga University Theatre Sports), the improv troupe I was a part of during college.

Storytelling is an important aspect of good improv, and my troupe had several exercises and games that focused on this skill. One small-group exercise was called 7-Sentence Story. It is fairly well-known exercise, though you will find variations of the sentence starters.

7-Sentence Story is, unsurprisingly, an exercise whose product is a story that is seven sentences long. One person will say the first sentence of the story, the next person the second sentence, and thus forth until all seven sentences have been said. If the group has fewer than seven people, then some people may go more than once. The exercise is mainly used to practice storytelling, listening, teamwork, and creativity.

Each sentence in the story must start with a certain phrase. The person whose turn it is must complete the phrase to create a sentence in the story. Sometimes an additional goal is added to the exercise such as “use as few words as possible” or “include as much detail as possible”.

The sentence starters are as follows:

  1. Once upon a time…
  2. And every day…
  3. Until one day…
  4. Because of this…
  5. Because of this…
  6. Finally…
  7. And ever since that day…

Instead of using 7-Sentence Story as an improv exercise, I will be including it here as a writing exercise. The main difference is that I will be creating the stories by myself. I also will not be asking anyone for suggestions to inspire the stories.