As a writer, you want people to pay attention to what you want to say. With so much clutter and noise, how can you make your work stand out? The answer is storytelling. Stories fire neurons and light up our brain in the same way as an actual physical action would. The makeup of a compelling and well-structured story comes down to engaging characters, relatable plots, and most importantly, a feeling of connection. Here are the five C’s of storytelling.
The five elements of crafting a compelling story:
The first element of storytelling is to connect with your audience. We may think rationally, but we make decisions based on emotions. Emotions influence us to make decisions. As a writer, it is crucial to tap into your reader’s emotions. Without this connection, engagement is impossible. Emotions help you build relationships with your audience. It is your opportunity to personalize your story and have people hooked from start to finish. You need to leverage this connection to your advantage by an obstacle which leads us to the second element of crafting a compelling story.
The first element of storytelling is to challenge your audience with the goal of resolving that challenge by the end of the story. Make your audience feel special. Your writing should appeal to many but talk directly to only one person. Articulate how you too were burdened by the same challenge.Highlight the core problem your audience has. To keep them engaged and begging for more, you need to make them really feel the pain. Just telling them isn’t enough. It’s time to for the rollercoaster of conflict to begin.
Now it’s time to add opposing forces that create an unfavorable result for your audience. Walk your audience through the worst parts of the problems that you are trying to solve. Hop back and forth between hurdles to them achieving their goals. Introduce new hurdles and make your audiences hopeless, ready to give up. Leave them emotionally drained. This will make them up for what’s coming next when all their hardships wither away.
Now it’s time to provide some hope. Show your audience how the characters have overcome the hurdles presented. Give them the feeling that a positive result is possible. As the story develops, take your audience on a journey from giving up all the way through to the results, feelings or accolades that your characters achieve on the other side. You are putting your readers in the shoes of your characters, and making them feel like the solution to all their problems is in their hands. By this part of your story, the reader is so emotionally bought into your character’s journey. They start to visualize themselves conquering their problems and achieving their goals. The emotional rollercoaster is coming to an end, and your reader finally sees a solution. They are inspired, ready and willing to take action.
Your job as a storyteller isn’t complete until you take your reader’s hand and guide them to the very next step they should take. Deliver a solution to the challenge, ending on a positive message the audience can take away. This is usually one part of a greater solution. But your job isn’t quite done. You need to guide your reader through their next step. What is the very next thing they need to do to? Is there somewhere they should visit? Where can they get help or inspiration? What other resources would be helpful?
Stories will help you break down barriers and sail you through the sea of noise your readers are exposed to. The more personal you can make the experience, the greater the connection will be. Your job as a writer to evoke emotion and connection at an early stage in your story. But that’s not enough. Create a visceral experience that magnifies a core challenge and creates a feeling of mental conflict. Until you resolve this conflict and strengthen your readers to conquer their demons, the story isn’t complete. Every step of the way, you are guiding your readers on a journey, an experience, and an adventure until finally, you tell them exactly what they should do next. Keep your readers hooked for as long as you can. Hand over the reins and let others tell the story for you when the time is right.