During these past few days, I’ve spent some time learning what makes a great story. And I came across something really useful that I would like to share with you.
For me, this post serves two purposes.
The first is the opportunity to write down what I’ve learned so that I’ll remember it better.
The second is to help you tell better stories, especially if you have an important one to share.
So, if you’re looking to improve your storytelling capabilities, it’s important to know the seven elements of a great story.
Every story needs a character.
Think of it as the glue that holds the entire story together.
Your character should have the ability to make an audience root for or despise him. But either way, your character has to be someone relatable. That’s the best way to keep the audience invested in the story.
It is also known as the conflict.
A problem/conflict is important to the story because it’s a pivotal requisite of the human endeavour. We need a problem to go through its course until its conclusion, which is also one of the elements.
A problem also provides excitement and interest. Without it, a story will never be interesting enough to keep the audience around until the end.
A hero doesn’t have to be Superman or Wonderwoman. A hero can be someone who overcomes the problem against all odds, or one that represents all that is good in this world.
The point is, we’ll call anyone who is greater/nobler than us a hero. Therefore, a hero is an ideal worth incorporating into a story.
The guide is the one that facilitates the hero’s quest.
Obi-Wan couldn’t do it without Yoda. That dude from the Karate Kid couldn’t do it without Mr. Miyagi, and Katniss couldn’t do it without Hamish.
No hero can accomplish a quest without the wisdom of a guide. And regardless of shape or form, it’s worth incorporating it into your story.
In this context, action refers to the step the protagonist in the story takes to overcome the problem. In the King’s speech, it was to overcome public speaking by taking voice and speech lessons.
You can’t overcome a problem in real life if you don’t take action. Why would it be any different in storytelling?
This and the next element go hand in hand. It’s also pretty self-explanatory. In other words, there has to be a resolution in your story.
No one likes a cliffhanger. They get enough of that in their real lives!
Some may say this isn’t that important. Perhaps. Though I disagree.
If you are given a platform and have the luxury of an audience, you better have a good or useful message to convey.
People want to be entertained. That’s a foregone conclusion. But if you can teach while you entertain, then you’ve got a recipe for success. The truth is, people will pay to have life simplified for them. And a story with a message does just that.
Storytelling is an important part of life. So it’s worth investing your time and effort to do it right. And if you don’t think you’re good enough to tell great stories, I encourage you to read this.
Happy storytelling my friends!
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