Micro Storytelling

My philosophy for telling short-form stories on the internet

Constraints force you to cut something to its essence. For me, storytelling is rooted in transformation.

No transformation, no story.

But how the heck do you fit that in a tweet? A LinkedIn post? An email?

That question kicked my butt for months. Yeah, I could throw together a listicle and it’d “perform well.”

But would it resonate? If I removed the name from the post, could people guess I wrote it? Nah.

Because it’s not a story. And stories are how we create resonance.

So, I dedicated quite a bit of time to creating what I call “Micro Storytelling.”

It’s a combo of storytelling principles and two copywriting formulas:

  • Before - After - Bridge

  • Attention - Interest - Desire - Action

Together, copywriting and storytelling help you get attention, keep attention, and turn that attention into something valuable.

Here’s the 5 steps to create a Micro Story:

  1. Before

  2. After

  3. Bridge

  4. Lesson

  5. Action

BABLA. I tried so hard to make it a better acronym. But here we are… let’s agree to call it “Micro Storytelling.”

1. Tell people about the Before

Introduce the Before state.

Where you’ve been, how you thought, the argument you’re about to lay waste to.

Here, I go with ‘the argument you’re about to lay waste to.’

2. Juxtapose the After (or the “desired future”)

In short-form storytelling, juxtaposition becomes your best friend.

Put two unrelated or opposing ideas next to each other and you simultaneously:

  • Create tension

  • Form open loops

  • But keep the solution hidden

At this point, the reader’s begging you to show them the bridge.

3. Bridge the gap (this is the “transformation”)

You’ve opened the loop. Now, it’s time to close it. Tell your reader how you went from “Before” to “After.”

In my example, I tell the reader Timeless Storyteling is the bridge.

Ideally, the bridge is your unique perspective. I argue “every story comes from somewhere. But not every story can be timeless.”

4. Share the Lesson, the “so what”

Bridges need foundations.

What are your takeaways? Why did you care about the Before, After, and Bridge? What should your reader do about it?

This is the step I used to skip. But without it, the story lacks its conclusion.

My friend Jay Acunzo says to shoot for a “that’s the thing about” moment here.

Share your non-obvious thought.

5. You’ve inspired desire, now ask for the Action

People see themselves in stories. So when you connect steps 1-4, you create a desire in the right person reading.

They want the transformation for themselves. Present a way for them to take that step.

Important: Consider this step before putting the story together. Think of your desired outcome like a magnet. Let it pull the rest of your story towards it.


I’m not a big template guy. Instead, focus on the psychology of short-form storytelling.

  • Juxtaposition to create conflict and interest

  • Transformation to illicit desire and intention

  • Lessons to show confidence and conviction

If you can nail those in a different way, do it. Here’s the copywriting framework Justin Welsh uses for his posts. You’ll see similarities and differences. But they’re both effective because they get the reader to feel something.

That’s the thing about the internet. It’s not about trends or virality, it’s about resonating with people. And to do that, tell a story. The rest will come.

Hit me up with any questions.

— Nathan

PS: A few examples that follow the Micro Story pattern:

Want to go deeper on storytelling?

1. If you want a practical way to improve your storywriting in less than 25 minutes daily, check out StoryWork (200+ students).

2. Grab time with me for a 1:1 session on newsletters, storytelling, audience building, or anything else.