How to profit from storytelling. Being able to prepare your content the way people will listen to, is the best way to become successful. Here you´ll find the most important facts you need to consider with storytelling.
Summary: 5 Minutes read, Level: Beginner
Everybody enjoys a good story, whether it’s in a book, on TV or film or someone telling one in real life. Not everyone has the knack of telling a good story though. Whether you’re writing a full length novel, a short story or even a blog post, you need to be able to tell a story that people will listen to. That´s the best way to become successful. Fact or fiction, it all goes together to make a story and if you follow these tips yours will be one people want to read.
You might think you’re a gifted storyteller who can just rattle out a story in one sitting and you might actually be able to do this sometimes. It’s definitely best to plan what you’re going to say first though. Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end and you should note important parts of the story you want to tell, in order, before you start to write the whole thing. This way nothing gets left out. Here you´ll find more about storytelling.
Make all the jokes you like about size mattering, but in this case shortness is key. People now need instant gratification and as they scroll through their phones they don’t want to read a 10,000 word essay, no matter how well written it is. The best way to become successful is to try and say everything you need to say in as few words as possible. If in doubt have a look at what other people are doing. Your competition or your peers will have posted things and you can check the word count of their offerings to give you a good idea of how long yours should be. Ideally any online post should take no more than three to five minutes to read, according to experts.
Every good story has conflict, whether it’s a true story or a work of fiction. This is what gets people hooked when they are listening to or reading a story. The way people deal with a challenge or conflict is the main part of your story. Read more about storytelling at Forbes Magazine.
A story is like a movie – as you read it you see the action unfold in your mind. Imagine people who don’t know the story already who are reading it. How will it play in their minds? It’s important to think this way as you already know the story and even when you commit it to paper or computer screen you can leave aspects of it out and still understand it. Others might not get it though as some of your missing details could be vital to the story. Check that you’re saying everything you need to say in order to make the story complete.
People will give you feedback and criticism, not all of it constructive, when you post a blog post or story online. What you should really do is get someone’s opinion before thousands of strangers can give you a hard time about what you’ve written. A good friend or honest family member who will tell you how it is can be invaluable in helping you shape your story. If someone suggests you change something or add to it you’ll need to take it on the chin – no sulking. Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, who’s ever fancied themselves as a writer or storyteller has had to make at least some revisions to something they’ve written.
The start of a story should be enough to reel people in and simplicity is the way to achieve this. Start out with a simple action, perhaps with just one or two characters. Being thrown into a chaotic world with multiple characters might seem exciting, but it can be off-putting for readers of your story.
Use descriptive language as much as possible. Remember you’re showing not telling. Write a first rough draft and then embellish it if needs be, but don’t get too caught up with synonyms. A lot of great writers advise against relying on a thesaurus to make your work seem interesting. The same if there’s a word you’re unsure of. The general rule is if you have to look it up, don’t use it. Using complicated language that few people will understand is a no-no as well. You don’t want to come across as pompous or arrogant. Good use of ordinary, everyday language can stir emotions and elicit a response from your readers just as effectively.
As you write you will see your own style develop. Read other writers’ work by all means – it’s a part of the creative process – but never try to copy or imitate them. The best way to become successful is to know that you’re you and your writing in your style is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
A good ending or a punchline are incredibly important, otherwise the rest of your good work can be undone. Never write ‘The End’ at the end of your work – people know it’s the end by the fact that there is no more text to read. And it might have worked in an 80s TV programme, but seriously avoid any ‘and it was all a dream’ scenarios or anything closely resembling that particular plot device. You always want people to come back and read more of your work and this should be achieved by the fact that you’re a good storyteller – which comes with practice, so keep writing – but cliffhanger endings should be used sparingly. Watch the mystery of storytelling by Julian Friedmann.
Stories are a thing that can bring people together and whether you’re telling a love story, a horror story or simply about what happened when you went to the shop earlier you should treat your telling of it seriously. This is the best way to become successful with it. The same tips can be applied to verbally telling a story. Some people use the above tips to prepare a couple of lengthy anecdotes to tell at parties. It works though, because people like good storytellers and a good storyteller can have people eating out of the palm of their hand with even a well-told average story. This could be you!