The Art of Storytelling
Feb 21, 2018 — General
Stories have been a part of the human life since we came into existence. Even when humans weren’t evolved enough to speak or had any kind of linguistic skills, they told stories through carvings. Before the written form of stories existed, the oral form of storytelling shaped generations and cultures alike with their moralistic and value-oriented storytelling. Our lives are reflected in these stories or at least we have some sort of an emotional attachment and memories associated with stories. All of us listen to stories since our childhood; the nature of the stories changes through the years as we grow up. From mythical and fantasy tales to stories of successful people to inspirational or simply for pleasure; the stories around us constantly evolve along with us. Our brain associates certain stories to specific memories and emotions those stories have evoked in the past and due to this response, stories are something which will always remain a part of the human life in some form or the other.
The most important aspect of storytelling is getting the audience to care about what you have to say. You need to know the people who will be absorbing your stories and mold those stories to hit the mark. If the audience is not bothered, empathetic or understanding of the stories then there is a chance of them simply dismissing the story because they can’t relate to any aspect of it. A story which doesn’t resonate with people is forgotten by them. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. The stories which have some element they can relate to, emotionally or by association are the stories that remain with them and are often recollected in the future. Make the story compelling enough to be remembered for a long time by not keeping everything perfect but letting the flaws shine through as well. Adding the element of realism to any type of a story is an absolute necessity. The audience needs to establish a certain emotional empathy with the story for them to really enjoy it. For example, think about a movie where there you couldn’t find any real connect with what was going on; in such cases you end up not liking the movie at all or it won’t be associated with good memories in your mind. That’s basically the point; it shouldn’t be completely removed from reality, so far-fetched that there is no grounding to the real world we live in.
Don’t sacrifice your individuality. Every story is unique in its own way. There might be similarities to other stories but no two stories can ever be completely same or narrated the same way. Ask any writer whether amateur or established what their process of creating a story is. No two individuals will give you same kind of answers. Everyone perceives the world around them in different way whatever that might be positive, negative, and unfair but each individual has a different approach of looking at the world. When engaging in storytelling, it becomes of the most importance to maintain your individual perspective of the world. No two stories can ever be completely same, there might be some similarities sure but a story with two different perspectives can never be considered the same. Don’t be afraid to express your point of view even if it stands against the beliefs of the majority because the difference of opinion in your storytelling will make you stand apart in a crowd. The experiences people go through are of similar nature but the human reaction to them differs. This difference in emotions, reactions and perspective is what adds the individualistic value to the storytelling. Maintaining your own ideas and feelings about every situation is an important part of telling a good story.
The plot of your story is something you need to give maximum thought to. The structure of the story sets a flow and a tone to the storytelling. Every aspect should contribute in moving the story forward and shouldn’t be just a purposeless addition. The plot is what keeps the readers engaged no matter what kind of storytelling you are engaging in. Every incident should be a build up towards something good and unexpected on the part of the readers. Have you ever read a book that you simply couldn’t keep down? Or watched a movie and lost all sense of time and space? Such storytelling is what one should aim for. Something that will keep the audience engaged without getting tiring and obsolete. The story structure should be a proper sequence but that doesn’t mean there can’t be new ways of telling a story; time shifts and setting shifts are elements which can be incorporated in a good story structure just in a careful manner.
Storytelling is a skill which can be developed and honed in any individual with a right kind of mindset. Stories are such an integral part of our lives as humans that they will never go out of style though the traditional forms of storytelling might be replaced with new ways. We, as humans consume stories in every form, at times without actually realizing we do it. With an active imagination and a good vocabulary all of us can become good storytellers.