You’ve heard the phrase, “the art of storytelling,” but you probably haven’t thought too much about it. We tell stories every day to friends, family, and even strangers. The fact of the matter that is storytelling really is an art.
We have all experienced poor storytelling: the story that takes 15 minutes to introduce the main character and then 15 more minutes to explain the plot. Additionally, we have also experienced good story telling: the book that you can’t put down and purchase the sequel to before you even finish the first one.
Whichever medium you may use to tell your story (written, spoken, social media, etc.), there are universal elements of effective storytelling that need to be included:
Regardless of what your story is about, it needs a solid structure. If you don’t have a beginning, middle and end, your story can lose its power and validity. Just the same, you don’t want to lead with the most important aspect of the story; you will lose the reader’s attention and interest. Keep them wanting more by building up your story in the beginning, reaching a climax in the middle, and tying it all together at the end.
Specifics make a story interesting and believable. Create a scene for your story through the use of details. If readers can paint a picture of your story in their heads, they will be more engaged and active listeners.
Add some fun into your story and make it original. Writing a story with style and flare is important in making it your own. With this comes the importance of “knowing your audience.” You do not want to write a story with different jargon or wording that your audience will not understand.
Making a feature into a piece of art takes time and practice. Inject your story with these elements and your own personality, and you will be sure to catch the reader’s attention. Good stories don’t just happen; they are created.
– Lauren Holton is a senior at the University of Oregon, with a major in public relations and minor in business administration. Lauren was born and raised in Fresno, California, but has grown to love the Pacific Northwest and hopes to continue her life here after college. Interested in community relations and event planning, Lauren is excited to use her skills and experiences to continue her career in the world of public relations.