7 essential ingredients of great storytelling
“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” — Jon Westenberg
There is nothing new in storytelling. It has been there since the dawn of civilization. We all are trying to attain perfection in this centuries old art.
We tell or listen to captivating stories. Be it through movies or folklore or even news. We tell stories to ourselves, even though they are not 100% truth, but it consoles us and hence we somehow crave to believe it.
We this article is an attempt to unravel the mysteries of effective storytelling. We all have that friend who has an unique style of narrating incidents. No matter how trivial the plot is, the way he/ she narrates the incident seems fascinating to us. So what are the components of a great story?
It is the fundamental attribute of any storyline. It is not a story if it is not simple. Dare not to tread the path of complex storytelling unless you are an young prodigy or anyone to the likes of George R.R. Martin.
Great stories are not something extremely fictitious. Rather, best plots can be drawn from our individual experiences. You can recollect any incident that made you feel extreme can serve as an underlying plot to your story. Recollect those incidents as they are 100% authentic and then start recognizing the incident in details. While doing so, make sure that the incident should have utmost emotional quotient in it.
This is the only thing that distinguishes good stories from information. Every good story comes with an inherent purpose. All marketing stories end with the purpose of making the prospects realize and spend on the brand. Purpose is actually the spinal cord of every good story. Better the purpose, greater the story is ought to be. Besides that, in an era of digital distractions- attention is the most expensive currency for global businesses. Everytime someone is lending an ear to your story, he/ she is actually investing the most expensive currency he/ she possesses on you. The purpose of your story is the actual return on investment for your listeners. So before starting, make sure that your listeners should feel emotional with the return (Purpose)
Every story is expected to have a personality of its own which should cater to the personality of readers. Characters play the most vital part in addressing those personalities. Readers or listeners love to root for one or different character/s or personalities in the story. Likings and preference for any character is based on several factors ranging from looks to values to wit. But unless a story has a character to aspire or root for, the story can never create a desired impact on readers’ mind.
According to psychologists, the six most dominant emotions of all human beings are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Unless a story caters to those inherent human emotions, people are not likely to like your story. Crises or climax of a narration, helps in appealing to those emotions. Even the narrative structure often facilitates the appeal to emotions. Game of Thrones is an example on how even a complex and non linear narrative can also sweep the audience off their feet and can transform audience into evangelists.
As mentioned in my previous blog, human minds get more observant to anything and everything unusual. A predictable story or narrative often fails to captivate the conscious mind of your listener. If the storyline or the conclusion gets predictable, people tends to dislike the story while they confer the story to their subconscious while clearing their conscious mind for anything new. Hence while weaving or narrating a story, make sure that the storyline has got enough tweaks and twist to encapsulate the attention of your audience.
Though it is mentioned at the last, but audience prefer well composed stories without having a lose end or an irrelevant threads. Post conclusion, the audience should never have any confusion regarding any character or sub plot. If it happens, then its time for you to start reading this article once again.
Last but not the least- observe, observe and observe.