“Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.” -George Lucas
We’ve been going through a series on what it takes to tell a great story. Together, we’ve been looking at keys to a great story and how to maximise them. I hope you’ve been following this blog series. If you haven’t, don’t worry. You can always check them out in the previous blogs.
So we talked about people, place, and purpose. The last key to great storytelling is the plot of your story. A plot is the sequence of details arranged compellingly and clearly shows for your audience to follow. Just as important as the strength of the milestones and challenges in your storyline, the sequence by which they are presented matter too.
As I’ve have learned through Muse Storytelling, there are six parts to a great plot. When we determine these six parts and tell them in fluid sequence, we’ve got an awesome story in the works. So let’s look at those six parts of a great story plot.
Research suggests that you have 15 seconds to catch someone’s attention. A hook helps you do that by sparking the interest of your viewer. The hook is your opening to a film that gets people at the edge of their seats and takes their thumbs off the exit button. It’s a quote, line, scene or moment that is so compelling that has viewers clamoring for more.
Every story has a conflict- a moment when a challenge or set of challenges come between your subject and his or her desire. There are two reasons why conflict is important. First is because conflict catches people’s attention. And second is because it gives your story direction.
Initiation is when your character starts to tackle the conflict or challenge. This suggests that the journey has begun. Most times, this is also a great time to establish what drives your character towards his or her desire. Setting up this part of the storyline will help you jumpstart the next part of your story, which is the journey.
The collection of events until a challenge is called your journey. Every character has that journey and it’s usually the meat of your storyline. The journey is a collection of milestones and setbacks, wins and losses between the initiation and the ending of conflict.
Resolution answers whether the conflict was overcome or not. It’s good to tell the story not just of how the conflict ends, but what happens after and how it makes your characters feel and interact when they overcome or are overwhelmed.
People who follow stories are always after one thing at the end- the jab. That’s the take away from the story. It can be a moral, a call to action or a moment of great memory that leaves viewers with something to take home once your story comes to a close.