Feb 10

The Art of Storytelling

The second in my series on public narrative form the HLSS event in Portugal.

Narrative pic 4
The elements of a good story are universal and simple. The challenge is to develop complexities and beauty within each element.

Let us begin with what for the purpose of our public narrative process is the most important element…

The Moral

The moral (or message, or value) is the thread that winds its way throughout your story of self, us and now. It is the purpose and the goal of the story to communicate this moral to others in a way that they understand not just as a concept, but as an emotional understanding. The moral is the heart of the story, the struggle or challenge to live by that moral, to discover or exhibit those values is what engages the listener to reflect on their own life challenges relative to the story.

The Protagonist

The protagonist/s is/are the character/s who moves through the story. They should be relatable on a human level, which can be achieved by being humble, heroic, flawed, vulnerable…anything that makes them someone we can identify, with and in some form feel empathy for. Because we can empathetically identify with the character, we can “feel” the values. We not only hear about the strategy someone’s courage; we can also be inspired by the emotional response we have to it.

The Plot

The purpose of the plot is to take us to that timeless shared human experience of standing on the precipice of the unknown, facing the choice that must be made. These are the moments we all have, the choices in life that make us look to stories with curiosity, to learn how to act as good people or to make good decisions.

A classical plot builds begins with an unexpected challenge that confronts the character with an urgent need, a choice for which he or she feels unprepared. The choice yields an outcome, the outcome then demonstrates the values/moral underlying the choice and the inner resources that may or may not be available for dealing with the challenges of life.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 19.01.58

And there you have it… a relatable protagonist, moved through a journey of successive challenges until reaching an inevitable choice point. Following this we reveal the consequences and outcomes of said choice, all the while weaving our moral and message throughout. Simple, no? But not simplistic!


Permanent link to this article: https://www.clairemariethomas.com/2016/02/the-art-of-storytelling/

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