You’re having dinner with a big group of friends, someone shared his recent experience and everyone listened so attentively and laughed so hard. While when another friend tried to shared his too, people lost their focus and he couldn’t even finish telling his story.
Why is there such a difference?
It’s not about their appearance or the depth of relationship. Because those people seem to be able to get the attention everywhere. What make them amazing storytellers are the skills they have!
Even if you are not a writer you still need to tell stories EVERY DAY. We tell stories to pitch to our boss, we share our stories with our loved ones, we make new friends by sharing interesting experience, etc. If we can master the skills it’ll be much easier to get your message crossed and better your relationships.
This article will offer you several storytelling techniques. With a grip of them, you will soon become a good storyteller too.
Begin your story with a solid framework
Although storytelling is free and imaginative, a story should not be told wildly without any frame.
Instead, a good story should be told within a solid framework. And if you think about it, any great piece of literature or movie imbeds this framework:
- The story tells about a protagonist, which means a main character.
- The protagonist desires to fulfil a goal, or solve a problem.
- There are difficulties, or more literarily saying, there are conflicts or struggles, blocking the protagonist’s way to fulfil the goal or to solve the problem.
- The protagonist overcomes, or resolves, the conflicts or struggles.
- After the conflicts or struggles, the protagonist grows, or for worse, falls.
Find it familiar? A lot of superhero films use this formula!
Carefully plan your protagonist’s struggles
Another point you should pay attention to is that struggle part is essential to a good story.
Why is the struggle important to your story? Because the struggle separates what is called a story from what is daily chore.
Imagine a story is taken away all the struggles. What is left is a sole description of the daily life.
For example, in Hunger Games, if Katniss was not forced to take part in the Hunger Game, the whole show would not even exist at the first place.
In this light, the importance of the struggle is self-evident.
And for this reason, you should be extra careful when telling your protagonist’s struggle. Depict the struggle vividly. And also reveal deeply what the protagonist is, what the protagonist feels before that life-changing struggle.
Trim off the unnecessary parts
Our final reminder for you to tell a good story is to cut out the unnecessary details in your story.
No one wants to listen to a repetitive and long-winded story.And the excessive details of your story can push off your audience.
Make sure your story is clear of unnecessary details. To determine what is unnecessary, you may ask yourself:
- Does it contribute to the delivery of the story’s message or theme?
- Does it initiate or facilitate changes of the protagonist?
- Does it help the audience know what to expect of the story?
- Does it help to build emotions?
If the part you hesitate with does not answer the above questions, very likely it is unnecessary. Then be bold to cut it out.
Remember sometimes less is more. What makes a good story is not overwhelming irrelevant details, but the powerful language and propelling content.