MDesigners' copywriting manager and author Francesca Manggel writes - and breaks the rules of storytelling.
Bloggers, influencers, social media experts, and advertisers all talk about storytelling; a term, a trend that started to catch our attention relatively recently, with the rise of social media, but in reality, it is a form of communication that has been used for centuries to entertain, educate, promote, and transmit ideas.
✔️Plot: A properly structured plot with an introduction, upward action, climax, downward action, and resolution-clearance is what will capture and maintain the audience’s interest.
Characters: The characters in the story are those who will emotionally connect the audience to the story.
✔️Conflicts, obstacles & challenges: They are a central element of the narrative. They create tension, propel the story to a climax, and their resolution elicits feelings of satisfaction and relief.
✔️ Setting. It helps to create atmosphere and can immerse the audience in the narrative, making it more believable.
✔️Theme: It is the underlying message or central idea of the storytelling. It can explore big ideas like love, friendship, justice, or a human condition. A well-defined theme adds substance and meaning, connecting with the audience on a deeper level.
✔️ Point of View: It determines who is telling the story and how it is presented. The choice of point of view affects the reader’s identification with the story.
✔️ Pacing: Refers to the speed at which storytelling unfolds. It involves balancing between slow and fast moments to maintain interest. Effective pacing keeps the story engaging and ensures a satisfying progression.
✔️Emotional appeal: Successful storytelling often evokes emotional responses like joy, sadness, excitement or empathy.
✔️ Engagement: Finally, successful storytelling engages the audience by capturing their attention and keeping their interest. This can be achieved through language, suspense, surprises, and other techniques that create a sense of anticipation and involvement.
When the elements listed above are combined, they can form a complete story. But are they sufficient to ensure success? In many cases, trying to include them all leads to the story losing its soul. As a result, its power fades with it. So, what can we do? Should we follow or ignore them? The solution is somewhere in the middle: we study and become familiar with the rules without allowing them to completely define our text. After all, storytelling is a malleable art form in which everything is relative and even the rules exist to be broken.
✍️ The key before you start writing is to find the idea. Ideas usually strike us at the most unexpected times, rarely when we sit down to write them. They can appear on the street while you are doing something unrelated, or even while you are taking a bath or sleeping. When an idea appears unexpectedly, it is usually in its most authentic form. So write it down right away! Something you thought about at night might be gone by morning if you do not write it down. Always have a notebook or cell phone on hand. Even if you do not have time, write down key words that will help you later when you sit down to write down your idea.
✍️ It is not always necessary to write in order. You may begin at the end, the middle, or the beginning. Write first what inspires you. Once you have the idea written down in its most basic form, you can begin working on it as a whole, constructing a skeleton with a beginning, middle, and end.
✍️Take inspiration from anything. Keep your eyes open. A person, an event, an image, a word, a song, or a piece of art are all you need to start a story if you let yourself go. One of my stories was inspired by a Nick Cave song and another by a Plato quote.
✍️And now we get to the main point. Set yourself free. Forget the rules, make some space for yourself, and let the idea, the story itself, guide you. The more truthful and spontaneous your story is, the more it will be appreciated and people will identify with it.
✍️Finally, practice. Read and write. It takes practice to unlock the hands and the mind. Read and write about anything. Keep your writings in chronological order. When you refer back to the first ones, you will realize that successful storytelling is above all the result of practice, honesty, inspiration and freedom.