Storytelling V - Storytelling with style

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Stories require protagonists and a conflict. However, it is the way in which you tell them that is decisive. Why that’s the case, we will explain here.

Why storytelling works, we already discussed at the beginning of our series. Messages have the greatest impact on humans when they aren’t purely factual but are able to evoke emotions. This will only happen if the story includes characters which the reader or listener can identify with and has an exciting conflict. It’s a famous rule: no conflict – no plot.

Learn storytelling from the best

The budding storyteller is allowed to watch and learn from the masters of the trade how to create exciting plots and characters. These masters are, for example, the animation studio Pixar. In this presentation there are many good suggestions on how to develop and tell one’s own story. Such as keeping in mind what’s interesting to an audience and not what’s fun to do as a writer – suggestion 2. This is reminiscent of the old saying, the bait must attract the fish, not the fisherman. Focusing on the audience of the story applies all the more to storytelling in marketing.

Storytelling with style

Once you’ve created the basic framework of the story, the storyteller should extensively deal with the style of narration. This might seem like superfluous work, but is actually very important. For, as the American author Kurt Vonnegut explained, it is the style that expresses the feeling of the storyteller. So exactly the feeling that he wants to transmit to the reader, so that he remembers the story and develops a positive attitude towards the storytelling company or the advertised product. That’s the whole purpose: for the reader or listener to remember and have a good feeling. If that’s not the point of the story the marketeer is telling, he could just as well send the reader a fact sheet. But it is about enabling/gripping the reader, as quoted by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

The “How” determines emotions

The style, the expression, is the level on which feelings are or aren’t transmitted. But how does one do it? For starters, the author has to be excited about a subject before he can stir up the same feeling in others. And this passion, according to Kurt Vonnegut, is communicated through style – his essay “How to write with style” was transformed into a presentation by Gavin McMahon, which you can look at here. You might ask, where does the style come from? If you don’t have it, you cannot buy it. Yet, what you could do is copy it. Scholars throughout all ages have published rhetorical guides.

The famous rhetorical exercise from Erasmus of Rotterdam doesn’t really help us, since it was written in Latin. But even younger authors, like Raymond Queneau, have demonstrated how the same story can be told in many different ways.

We look forward to hearing your story and wish you lots of fun in searching, finding and stylising your story.


All our storytelling articles (published so far):

Storytelling I: What’s the Story?
Storytelling II: Why it Works
Storytelling III: Where Does One Begin?
Storytelling IV: Best Practices Google Nexus

Storytelling Best Practices:

Google Nexus

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