This week I gave a talk about story structures. Having never really given talk about something other than my portfolio standing on a stage in front of slides was pretty nerve-racking. That said I'm a strong believer in doing the things that scare you because that is what allows you to grow. While my comfort is absolutely being behind the slides it was great to experience standing in front of them. If anything its provided me with a better understanding of what it's like to be on the other side of a process that I work with every day.
Someone asked me how many story structures there were and I realized I had never looked into that. The answer I've since come to conclude is that I don't know that there is a definitive answer. In my talk I shared a few examples and thought I would share three of them with you here.
It was a lot of fun to come up with a creative direction that was all my own. I had some fun with a bold color palette and fun patterns.
Aristotle's Dramatic Story
This is the idea that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's a very basic structure that follows a linear path. You start with a cause and effect and work towards a solution.
Freytag's pyramid consists of five parts. You start with the exposition which is where you establish the setting. Then through the rising action you introduce conflict or tension, this is where you create a sense of uncertainty. Then you reach the greatest point of intensity the climax. This is also at times known as the crisis. When you reach the point of the falling action this is where things start to fall into place. This is where mysteries start to become solved or a hero's error becomes recognized. And then last you reach the denouement where you offer closure and normalcy is returned.
The Persuasive Story
So this is the structure I learned about while at Duarte and it is great for when you want to tell a persuasive story. (You can watch Nancy Duarte's TED Talk here if you really want to dive into it.) Here you start by establishing the current state of the way things are. Then you introduce your new vision for the future, maybe it's some new goal or a lofty dream. That is an example of "what could be." And you take your story back and forth and back forth. You keep up at this contrast of how things are vs. how they could be. And then you end with something powerful. You paint a picture so poetic, dramatic, or powerful that people will want to support your vision.
Here are some outtakes from presentation so that you can see some of the animations, design, etc.