Here are the storytelling elements in Star Wars: A New Hope.
A while back, I outlined the storytelling elements found in almost all great stories in an infographic:
I wanted to apply these classical elements to a well-known story to see how well they would work.
The choice of a great story was a no-brainer:
I was born in 1979, two years after Star Wars was released, so Star Wars: A New Hope was essential to my upbringing.
Storytelling Elements in Star Wars
Here’s how I structured the storytelling elements in Star Wars: A New Hope to make them usable:
1. The Contract
Right at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, you get to see Star Destroyers in space shooting lasers and Darth Vader taking Princess Leia Organa hostage while they negotiate the whole dramatic setup before Leia’s taken to her cell.
2. The Pull
The Empire uses a tractor beam, but we’re drawn into the story by two droids, R2-D2 and C3PO. R2-D2 knows something but can only beep and blip, so C3PO has to ask lots of questions and repeat the answers to pull the viewer into the story.
3. The Incident
After fighting with his foster parents, Luke Skywalker runs away from home and gets attacked by Sand People. However, he is then saved by his mysterious protector, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
4. The Reveal
R2-D2 shows his message from Princess Leia, thus opening up a whole new world for Luke Skywalker, and then Obi-Wan Kenobi explains about the Jedi.
5. Point of No Return
Luke Skywalker realizes his life will never be the same as he rushes home to find his family butchered. He decides to follow Obi-Wan Kenobi and the droids to save Princess Leia. 1The Incident, The Reveal, and the Point of No Return are often quite close to each other in most narratives, and they might even be bundled together in the same scene or sequence. Together, they lead … Continue reading
Together with new companions Han Solo and Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker manages to save Princess Leia, but at the same time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is struck down by Darth Vader.
7. All is Lost
As the rebels mobilize to strike against the Death Star, they suffer heavy losses against a superior military force. But the rebels are picked off one by one, and Luke Skywalker is left with the almost impossible task of blowing up the Death Star without a functioning aiming system.
8. News of Hope
Luke Skywalker gets surprising help from Han Solo, who returns with the might of the Millennium Falcon — and the rest of the rebel fleet.
9. The Climax
Luke Skywalker completes his character arc for this movie by summoning the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Using the Force, Luke succeeded in blowing up the Death Star and, more importantly, took an important step towards fulfilling his destiny to become a true Jedi Knight.
10. The Pay-Off
Team Skywalker get medals, but more importantly — their companionship is forever forged, and they’re now ready to face the Empire yet again. 2Since the audience has actively taken part in the story, shared decisions and experienced struggles emotionally, they want to be rewarded through the main characters. They also want to feel that they … Continue reading
Additional Storytelling Resources
For corporate purposes, I prefer to use this simplified script:
Promise. Why should anyone read your post? A significant commitment ensures your readers know what to expect from this story. Of course, you also need to deliver on your contract.
Conflict. You need to explain that you understand the frustration. I’ve been there yourself. Why should anyone trust your story otherwise? Most writers rush this to get to the solution, but all good stories focus more on hardships than anything else.
Discovery. When, how and why did you decide to find a solution to your problem? A “point-of-no-return” is needed to engage the readers in your story. Tell them when, how and why.
Solution. As for the solution, keep it brief and to the point.
Call-to-action. And finally, since you’re creating a blog post, you should leave the reader with a clear notion of what to do next!
For honing your writing skills, these are my go-to books on persuasive writing:
… and last but not least, my favourite software for dramatic writing:
One more thing. As I’m writing this, we’re expecting a baby boy, and my wife is currently five days past her due date. If all goes well (and I think it will!) — I hope to have many years of storytelling in front of me.
May the Force be with all of us!
|The Incident, The Reveal, and the Point of No Return are often quite close to each other in most narratives, and they might even be bundled together in the same scene or sequence. Together, they lead up to this: the audience must want Luke to go on this adventure before he decides to go. Audience buy-in is crucial.|
|Since the audience has actively taken part in the story, shared decisions and experienced struggles emotionally, they want to be rewarded through the main characters. They also want to feel that they have grown from this story and are now better equipped to face any challenges in their own lives.|