21 Awesome Storytelling Techniques

October 17th, 2012 in Digital Storytelling

The tools of social networking: These are the digital campfires around which the audience gathers to hear our story.— Marco TempestStorytelling techniques

“As long as we are engaged in storytelling that moves the culture forward, it doesn’t matter what format it is.” — Levar Burton

Storytelling is the core of who are as human beings, and it’s an art all in it’s own — no matter what form you are using.  Many storytelling techniques still stand the test of time. With a little creativity and imagination, you can apply storytelling techniques to any form for your brand storytelling.

And why wouldn’t you want to connect, engage, and inspire your audience with your brand’s story?

If you’re looking for storytelling inspiration or want to brush up on your knowledge of storytelling techniques, check out the following list.

21 Awesome Storytelling Techniques

1. Show don’t tell.  One of the most important lessons to learn as a writer or creator. Show your story don’t just tell it. Show us a character, a scene, a developing emotion, a visual example. Tip: Try editing by imagining the scenes, and removing what doesn’t show the story.

2. Create character your audience relates to. This should be tailored specifically to your audience. It’s important to know your audience before creating the story. Tip: Create a character profile listing all the details of your character to help get a feel for the story.

3. Set the stage. We’d like to know enough of the context so we can understand the story. Tell us the place and the time the story takes place.

4. Create a mood. Short stories, videos, and shorter content should convey one mood throughout. A horror story has it’s own mood, and an informational post has it’s own mood or tone too.

5. Construct a plot. There should be a beginning, middle, and end to your story. This is true even if you want to break the rules a bit, your audience needs some sense of closure at the end.

6. Foreshadow. Hints or clues throughout the story that the audience can pay attention too. This helps keep your audience lured into your story.

7. Use realistic dialogue. I say realistic because we immediately lose focus when we hear something that sounds odd, corny, or out of place. Don’t throw us out of the story. Pay attention to the dialogue you write and quotes you use. Tip: Read the dialogue out loud when editing to hear if it sounds realistic.

8. Appeal to our senses. Music, visuals, sounds, how do they play a role in appealing to our senses in your story?  They should contribute to the story, making the experience feel realistic and entertaining.

9. Establish conflict. What’s the conflict in the story? What leads up to it?  How will it be resolved?

10. Use archetypes. Narratives like the hero story, the journey story, the coming-of-self story all touch the human soul.  We love this stuff.  Take a common narrative and apply it to your own story.

11. Consider point of view. Would the story have a more emotional appeal if it was told through the eyes of a child?

12. Use hook beginnings. Consider the different ways you can quickly draw your audience into your viral video, blog post, or other form of brand storytelling.

13. Use hook endings. This is great for a series of videos or stories that you want to connect together. Television shows and series novels are awesome at leaving the audience wanting more.

14. Establish a unified theme. Each story should have a distinct theme that stands out. Tip: Identifying the theme early on helps keep the story structure strong.

15. Make it interactive. Now with the digital tools you have, how do you want to include an interactive audience?

16. Make it visual. We want to see the story too, whether it’s through beautiful descriptions with your words, videos, or visuals integrated throughout.

17. Use a dynamic character. This is a character that is changed by the conflict of the story. Sometimes we love to see the reformed sinner, or the struggling student find their way to success.

18. Use static character. This is a character who does not change by the conflict, and can be beneficial to your story too.

19. Pull on our emotions. We want to be moved by your story. What emotions does your story reveal and invoke in the audience?

20. Create the climax. This is the turning point of the story. Is there a climax in yours?

21.  Give us a resolution. We should feel satisfied with the story’s end, even if there is a possibility for a sequal. The main conflict should be resolved by the stories end.

You may not use all of these techniques in your story, and you may not have them integrated into your story right away. Sometimes it’s best to write out your first draft and then go back and ask yourself some important questions on technique. The stronger you make the story, the more effective your reach will be for your audience.

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About Me

Amanda Lewan - Digital StorytellerOn a mission to inspire others with storytelling. Digital stories and cultural insights included. Read more about me.

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