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The creative pain and potential of real storytelling

October 19, 2010


It’s been said that there are only 7 available plots and many have tried to reduce storytelling down to is barest essentials.

However, the power of the story knows few boundaries and we become sucked in and seduced by the twists and tales in the narrative as characters reveal themselves and story lines unfolded.

The reality is that telling really great stories is pretty hard to do, despite what screenwriting courses might tell you. It’s also something that needs some systems like thinking- (take the visual above which is from Harry Potter’s JK Rowling) where she’s charted out a chronology and various plot lines. This is real work!!!

The point I am trying to making, is that communication agencies are frequently telling their clients about the opportunity to tell stories, without really understanding the discipline it takes to make a good one.

Most creative people get bored of their ideas really fast and want nothing to do with them once they’ve been created and seen the light of day.

The impetus is to move onto the next shiny object. However, if you want to create a real-time and long-term narrative you need to know your beginning, middle and end well ahead of time and this isn’t something we are used to.

It seems like creatives need help in understanding how their stories can have breadth and depth- spanning obvious and not so obvious channels and having a lifespan way beyond what they might expect. The people to help them should be planners and media folks who can inspire them to re-imagine their ideas as bigger, longer lasting and importantly, creatively fulfilling.

Image thanks to and Famulan

Posted by Ed Cotton

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