• Kralingen

Quick story lesson: Friction

Updated: Jul 27

The first and most important thing in any story – whether it’s a film, video, book, brand, blog, musical, art, scientific or corporate story – is a little thing called conflict. For those new to storytelling this may come as a shock. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Humans thrive through overcoming frictions and obstacles.


The best things that human beings have ever created all come from some type of friction, conflict, disagreement or paradox. Music for instance is only considered worthwhile if it builds up tension. It has to sound at least somewhat new and original, even in established genres, for it to grab hold of our attention.


The same of course goes for good novels or movies, not to mention fine art. The most memorable things in those professions are often shocking or amusing because they marry concepts that are new to the eyes and ears. In Hollywood, characters are built up in such a way that friction occurs, only to be resolved in latter stages of the movie.

But it goes beyond the classical arts. In advertising friction is often used to convey short messages that are remembered, simply because of that friction. And even the best corporate stories are told with that in mind. Just think of the stories surrounding great entrepreneurs working themselves up from hardship, or social and sustainable responsibilities mastered against the odds and surroundings.

People react to things they can relate too. And all our lives are full of conflicts that need to be resolved. So adding friction makes things recognizable to us, it humanizes. So, if you want to be remembered, remember to add something rough around the edges in your story. That’s what makes it interesting.


(Check out these quick lessons on vulnerability, audience, emotions and the journey, plus these 14 laws of storytelling too and why everyone has a story to tell)


Rogier van Kralingen

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