Eisner starts out by explaining what a story actually is. It is a compilation of ideas that have a beginning, middle, and an end (Eisner 1,2).Eisner describes an idea of storytelling as a story that lies deep in the social behavior of human groups. There are two major ways a story can be transmitted: written and oral (Eisner 7).
Once you get an idea it is time to start writing/telling the story. The best way to determine the type of story to tell, is what your intent is. Eisner describes multiple kinds of stories in Chapter 5. For example you could instruct the audience (Eisner 18), you could tell a “how to story” (Eisner 19) or even tell a life story (Eisner 33).
Once we select the idea we want to write about and the audience is reading, we must now keep them engaged. Eisner says that surprise is the most used element in writing (Eisner 52). In film audience retention is easy to accomplish because of sounds and motion together. The other thing about film is that people can’t really skip ahead in a movie. However in reading there is nothing stopping the audience from looking ahead. Surprise is the best mechanism to use to retain the readers attention.