Storytelling 101, The Story

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Storytelling liquors up the soul for ideas and possibilities. This method can convert even the toughest of cookies by weaving an idea into a compelling tale, pleasing to both their mind and emotions. We’ve already looked at the benefits of storytelling in the last post, but where to start? Let’s put aside the “telling” part and focus on the story.

Understanding and practicing a story build generates the necessary muscle memory to enjoy telling the story to an audience. We’ll break it down to the absolute essentials, which you already know, but probably brushed aside for more practical, real world information. This little reminder will put it in the context of now and get your mind turning on the current possibilities of building stories.

Prior to constructing a story, like a pre-apartment check off list before going on holiday, there are a few housekeeping measures to exercise. First, determine why you are creating a story. Is it to have an intriguing, 2-minute anecdote ready for a charming young lady? To present an idea to key stakeholders while your director is in the room? Maybe to reveal the reasons behind your life-changing plans to the parents? Only you can answer this one, but it will affect the structure of your story.

As you noticed in all of the provided situations, there is the what, reveal your plans for example, and who, in that case your parents. Identifying your audience beforehand will eliminate the need for subsequent changes. As a quick illustration, if you want to tell your charming young lady about an epic trip with your mates in Maui, you’ll be better off focusing on the challenges during a surfing lesson, then your failed techniques picking up other women. Your audience is the ultimate judge of your story’s success, so keep them close in spirit.

You have your pen and paper, figuratively or literally, so let’s get to fashioning a story. It should structurally have the following:

  • Setting: Where are we? Keep this short.
  • Problem: Who or what are we against? The more relatable the better.
  • Protagonist: Whom are we rooting for? It could be you.
  • Drama: What keeps me wanting more? Suspense is key.
  • Resolution: How did it all turn out? Our audience wants to leave satisfied.

From line one, your audience should be absolutely riveted as you layer more information and frosting onto your story cake. Keep it concise, sweet, but not too sweet. Continually weight the relevancy of any information with your audience in mind will edit out unnecessary details. By doing this, the ideas you kept in will be amplified. And remember, the purpose of line one is to keep your listener waiting for line two. And line two is to make line three even more desirable. As you craft your story, maintain a healthy pace of anticipation before, bang, drama, and bang, resolution.

You’ve learned half of storytelling, the story part, now go out and practice. Create a story in your head about your last holiday or consider the most life-altering part of your weekend before coming into work. You’ll find by doing these bite-size practices, your story making flexibility will improve. Then it’s onto the telling part of storytelling in our next post.