Since the beginning of history, we have been telling stories. We are hard wired to learn lessons, be inspired and take action through the power of storytelling. When we can identify with an individual and their struggles to overcome obstacles, we are engaged and inspired. Conversely, if we cannot relate directly to these struggles, the story seems irrelevant and far away from our daily lives.

How to build a story

  1. Once upon a time, there was a  __________. This sets the stage for the story.
  2. One day, _________ happened. This sets up the conflict. Want + obstacle = conflict.
  3. Because of that, _________ happened. This is the crisis. This is often where our protagonist fails while attempting to overcome the obstacle.
  4. Until finally, ________ happened. This is the climax, denouement, and lessons learned.

Tips for good storytelling

  • A good story is simple and easy to understand. Don’t complicate the plot too much.
  • Show, don’t tell the audience. Use examples to illustrate your point.
  • All good stories have conflict. If our protagonist never overcame any obstacles, it would be pretty boring.
  • Step outside the ordinary. Do something unexpected.
  • Introduce emotion.

What do you want from your audience?

  • The best stories not only engage your audience, they should take it one step further and encourage your audience to take action. 
  • Give your audience an opportunity to act.

Read more

Read more: Five elements of a good digital story (M. Stoner)