Storytelling Lesson 2: The Journey
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
All good stories are always about the journey and never about the destination. The end goal of what you do or say is important of course. But it's not what people will remember. The road towards that ending is what it's all about because it involves all the trials, tribulations, frictions and conflict people will relate too. So, let's have a closer look at how this works in practice.
If my story starts with the message that Frodo and Sam have successfully dumped that one ring in Mount Doom... there wouldn't be much of a story to tell now? Epic story The Lord of The Rings is about a large group of people who all go through several transformations facing the most terrible adversity of all: the ultimate evil taking over. The stakes could not be higher. Following their journey and learning how they cope with their challenges is what we find most interesting and engaging.
In most of our day-to-day storytelling however, we make the mistake of 'advertising' only that end result. The thinking is that attention spans are short, so we must make our mark immediately and forcefully. Psychologically, this has the opposite effect however. Out of the hundreds of messages thrown at us every day that do just that, we filter out those that actually contain a story or at least a hint of it.
Just think: you remember that new trailer. Or that lovely piece of music. Or that passionate argument about a political policy. But your brain has not stored the dozens of different brands and billboards on the highway. Nor can it recollect all those online ads that were blinking in your face during the day. Literally hundreds and hundreds of messages you see every single day are completely ignored by your mind.
So even when your messages are short and even if you have limited space to convey a message, remember that even a hint of storytelling is better than nothing. And that hint should always be about the road you and I are on. The journey we can experience and learn from.
Until then, keep it real.