The basics of The Storymatic could not be easier. First, draw two gold cards. Combine the information on the two cards to create your main character. For example, if you draw "surgeon" and "amateur boxer," your character is a surgeon who is also a boxer. Next, draw one or two copper cards. Let the information on the cards lead you into a story. Wild cards are interspersed throughout, and they prompt you to go in directions you might not ordinarily go.

There are, however, two laws that you should follow:

1. Your main character must change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.

2. You cannot kill your main character.

The first law exists because in a good story, the main character always changes in some way. Always.

Always, always, always.

This change does not have to be an outward change. Nor does it need to be a 180-degree shift in personality, or belief system, or moral code. The change can be subtle. But there must be a change. Change occurs when a character is challenged in some way, and change is the result of conflict. The drama within a story exists because we are interested in seeing how characters address conflict and are changed by it. The First Law of The Storymatic helps you create drama by giving you a simple, clear directive.

The Second Law of the Storymatic exists because killing characters is extremely easy. Keeping them alive is much harder. The second law is an extension of the first law: put simply, the change that the first law requires must be something other than physical death.

The Two Laws of the Storymatic give you a framework in which to create conflicts and invent solutions. They also steer you away from easy endings.

The first law must always be followed.

The second law can, on occasion, be broken (there are, after all, lots of excellent stories in which the main character dies). But the second law should only be broken on rare occasions, and it can only be broken for the sake of the story. It must never be broken for the sake of convenience.