Storytelling is an art and like every other art, there are rules of engagements.
There are 6 basic elements of every story you tell. Next time before you click ‘’post’’, check to make sure your story has the following elements:
Circumstance – linked-events and story basis
Every story should have a story basis. You should have a WHY for sharing the story. It may be that you want to help people:
‘’Overcome limiting beliefs’’ ‘’inspire people to do it afraid’’ ‘’Give positive references to those who need it’’ ‘’Reveal the sacred cow and boldly share on topics considered taboo’’ eg Homosexuality and sex.
Once you find your story basis.
The next thing you need to do is identify your linked-events. This is one of the most crucial parts of your story. The reason why you get glued to a movie story is because the linked-events follow a BELIEVABLE SEQUENCE.
Your events must not be like ‘’nollywood’’ (pun unintended). Lol
Don’t tell us you work up in the morning in Lagos and in 2 hours you are on a beach in Dubai. Your story must follow a logical sequence.
Take your time and build it up.
Curiosity – open the loop
Another crucial part of your storytelling has to do with the loops you create in the minds and hearts of your audience.
Loops can be best described as a desire you create intentionally in the minds of your audience through the stories you share, the questions you raise, the suspense you trigger, the excitement and interest you inspire…
What you do with these loops is to help them see the beginning story of a character, paint a picture of different future outcomes and then let them join the character on a process through the story (the middle).
There’s a thin line between keeping them glued via curiosity about the next possible outcome and giving them enough drama to keep their attention.
In your stories you have to find that thin line.
Characters – persons in your story (your audience as hero, you as guide, other characters)
Your characters are the persons in your story.
Your audience is your hero.
You are the guide helping the hero on his/her journey.
There may be other characters in your story, your family, significant other, friends, coaches, mentors, employees, clients, etc.
As much as possible, keep the characters as few as possible.
Conversations – what they are talking about?
It’s not enough to have characters…what are they talking about?
You need to work on your plot and give them rich conversations that your audience will be interested in and can easily pick the lessons from the character and story.
Conflict – what they are fighting about, fears, worry, etc
There’s no great story without conflict.
If you’ve ever watched a series or a good movie. You will see that when the hero is surmounting one obstacle, another challenge shows up.
There has to be challenges to keep the character occupied and the audience glued to the story.
Ensure you’ve thought out how your stories will be richer with conflicts and at what point your character will face conflicts.
Conclusion – close the loop, answer questions or open another loop.
This is one of the most important element of your storytelling process.
It’s one thing to have a good introduction, a remarkable and captivating middle, the onus lies on you as the storyteller to end the story well.
Remember that we opened a loop earlier? We have to close it at the end of the movie or story.
The hero falls in love and gets the girl, the hero finds and fulfills his personal legend, the hero saves the world, the villain dies, etc
Those are atypical story ending. Happily-ever-after kind.
You can also end by answering questions in another narrative or opening the loop by sparking curiosity: bringing in another villain or starting another conflict. (part 2) Lol
These are basic storytelling principles whether we are writing fiction or non-fiction stories.
You will do well to study them and apply them to your storytelling.
Hope this enlightens you and beyond that, I hope you take MASSIVE action.