The Art of Storytelling

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What makes a good story?

The practice of storytelling can be traced back to the origins of mankind, although it is an ancient tradition to this day it is the most effective method of reaching people. Stories are a part of every  single aspect of our lives, it is the way we form connections. Stories can take many different shapes and objectives, whether it is to inform, connect, relate, or expand.  In order to deliver a good story several components must be present: organization, purpose, relevance, different perspectives, and sources.

It is essential for any well thought out message to be organized. When delivering a good story the way in which you tell it matters. Because each story is different, the order of things may vary depending on the content. Overall, the story has to be cohesive and flow easily when the audience is reading it. It should be organized in such a way that the most important part is easily recognizable. The most frequently used organizational structure is introduction, climax and then resolution, but when one is trying to build suspense or momentum most of the action happens towards the end. In journalism an inverse triangle is often used in order to give the reader the key pieces of information from the beginning.

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A story can be organized but without a purpose or objective no one will read it. As a writer, it is essential to have a particular goal or purpose you wish you achieve through the story. Having a purpose in mind facilitates choosing a target audience and medium. Purpose gives the story character and personality, and it is easier to organize something once you know what you wish to achieve. Along with purpose comes relevance, some stories although they have a purpose can be too late in commenting on a matter, or there is simply not a need from the public to discuss the specific topic. Stories with no relevance will often go unheard or unread because they are not what the audience is looking to learn or hear about. This is why it is important to stay current with trends, so that you can tell stories people find worth listening. Take for example GoldieBlox, their purpose or objective was to generate holiday sales through their website, and the campaign had relevance because they did it during a “crucial shopping season” as opposed to during the summer when toy shopping is not as high.

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Another essential component of good stories is their ability to relay the message and share the different perspectives on it. Personally, stories that are bias, even if to my favor, I find less credible. The individual perspective of the storyteller influences how he tells the story, which is why it is essential to relay both the cons and pros to it. Presenting multiple perspectives gives the storyteller more credibility and can make their argument stronger. Credibility is a key component because no story is effective if the audience does not believe it. Having credible sources, factual data are only some of the things that make up the credibility of your story.pollcitation

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