The Future of Storytelling: Chapter 1 Review- continued

And yesterday, on The Future of Storytelling chapter 1 review, storytelling was defined, the origin of storytelling explored and how technology and invention is influencing how stories are being told.

Back at the ranch, I start today’s story with telling you briefly, about Story verses Plot!

A story was defined as a chronological series of events, and a plot is, the order and duration of events as they are presented to us.


Coming up next is Story Structure. How are stories structured in a way that makes sense to the audience? If you notice, majority of Hollywood classic movies follow a basic 3 act structure- A beginning, a middle and an end. In other words- exposition, confrontation and resolution and this can be renamed as Meet (ACT 1), Lose (ACT 2) and Get (ACT 3).




After structuring how the story is going to be told, the next step is to design the story you want to tell. To achieve the emotional climax you want your audience to have at the end of the story, Robert Mckee in an interview, states that a Story Design must have these 3 distinctive qualities- To hook your audience, the story should incite incident, which will hold their attention especially if the character in the story possesses an object of desire, and to have an emotional payoff, the character must have a pursuit of desire. The task of a good story design is to “hold” the audiences interest.


Now, how does this hook, hold and payoff work? Lets look at the arch plot in classical design.

An arch-plot structure which is a 3-act structure, is a story with a character on a journey. This character has a desire to reach its goal against all odds, defying inner and outer forces to make it to their object of desire. This structures can be seen in films, literature and even gaming.

storydesign archplot

On a closer look on hook, hold and payoff,  we had to watch these videos to get a deeper understanding of how it works.

In these videos, the hook is the main character. The hold which is the element that makes us go on watching, is tied to these character’s desire to reach their goal against all odds, and the payoff is what we feel at the end of watching these characters- be it a feeling of victory that we relate to the characters, tears or just a beautiful happy ending.

How do we now create this emotional impact? How do we get our audience really interested in listening to our story? How to we build the characters? When analyzing a story, you got to ask yourself these questions-

  • Who is she/ he/ it?
  • What does she/he/it want?
  • Why?

To start this story you so badly want to tell, the questions below can give you a good head start to telling or writing a compelling story-

  • What is the scene you see in your head?
  • What is the interesting character in the story?
  • What is the event that interest you to trigger the story?
  • Can it keep your/the audience attention for years to come?
  • What /where is the location?

You must remember that location can be a major character inspiration and a blank canvas to draw on, which leads to the research.

In conclusion, there really is no right or wrong way. These tips are just guides. Guides to help us tell a really great story, that catches the attention of your audience.  According to Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart, she thinks that every writer should define their story and it could also happen that, the audience defines what the story is. Sometimes you got to watch how the characters of your story unfold, share their experiences and come together to create new experiences. Make it an adventure. A journey worth taking. An experience that can’t be easily forgotten. Your character can shape the story or your story can shape the characters!

The End!

…well not actually! Just the end of this episode (chapter 1). The story will keep unfolding and hopefully it will be an experience that will shape the next chapter of my life!

At the end of chapter 1, we had a creative task. Read about it here

For more information on Robert Mckee’s interview-

You can still be part of this storytelling adventure! One click and join in the road trip!


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