Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to communicate with viewers. Storytime YouTubers like Olivia Cara, Gabbie Hanna and Jessi Smiles are racking up millions of views by simply retelling some of their personal life experiences. These Storytime creators come up with intriguing stories based around their dating life, encounters with creepy Uber drivers, stalker stories and other super relatable topics.
The secret to sharing a memorable story, is to draft an amazing story arc. Your story arc is a rough skeleton of your story that’s divided into five main sections: The exposition, hook, challenge, peak and resolution. Here’s how you get down to the nitty-gritty.
1. The exposition
A good story has a strong introduction. Lay the foundation for your story in this part, including the time, setting, location, characters, and the groundwork for your plot. For example, the following excerpt from a story can be broken down into the following parts.
“One afternoon (time), on a cold winter evening in the city of Greenwood (setting), I accompanied three children (characters) to the local forest (location).”
It’s all in the way you set the tone and make your story come alive. If you’re talking about a person knocking on a door in your story, you can actually knock on a desk near you to mirror the sound effect. Or if you’re talking animatedly about a beautiful scenery, accentuate your eyes and appear lively and excited.
Your story must be compelling enough for viewers to stay on. Introduce an interesting surprise or hook around every corner to keep your viewers curious about what’s going to happen next. Here’s the continuation of the above storyline, with a catchy hook.
“A strange epidemic had befallen Greenwood, and we were determined to uncover the mystery.”
A great way to keep viewers glued, is to trigger at least two of five senses in viewers. Get granular with the details:
- Sight: We saw a mansion surrounded by lush green trees.
- Taste: We spread out a picnic basket and munched on chocolate muffins.
- Smell: The air was sparkling clean and smelled of freshly mowed grass.
- Sound: An owl hooted in the distance.
- Touch: The children and I huddled together to keep ourselves warm by the bonfire.
Now create a twist in the storyline. Introduce a challenge that the characters have to overcome in order to reach their end goal.
“As we ate our evening meal in silence, a deafening scream reverberated in the distance. And before you know it, we saw tribal women, pointing dead sharp arrows running towards us. We ran for our lives”
Here is when your story reaches a climax. The characters reach cross-roads and must make a decision.
“The tribal women carried us to their camp and tied us to the trees. We had nowhere to go.”
Make sure that your “peak” includes psychological triggers to activate these three main elements in the brain, to keep viewers on their toes:
- Cortisol: Helps regulate stress-levels
- Dopamine: Helps viewers remember the experience
- Oxytocin: Helps viewers empathize with characters in the storyline
This is when your characters find a solution to the challenge. Remember, the best stories are the most relatable ones. People must be able to connect with your characters and empathize with them. Take your viewers on an emotional roller coaster ride! They must feel what your characters are feeling on a deep emotional level.
“The children used their fingernails to cut the ropes and free themselves. We raced back to the police station and boy did we have a story to tell! Our families were waiting for us with tears in their eyes”.
At the end of the day, as long as viewers can remember your story and resonate with it, you know that you’ve done a great job. If you follow the above story arc and nail your plot, you’ll be sure to win the hearts of millions!
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