What are the typical storytelling elements?
In storytelling, some things work — again and again.
As a PR professional since 2005, I find the study of dramatic composition fascinating.
I’ve distilled some of the most widely used storytelling elements from the basic “Hollywood-style” format into one infographic.
Here we go:
Infographic: Storytelling Elements
“Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage.”
— Wikipedia 1Dramaturgy. (2023, April 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramaturgy
Some storytelling elements keep coming back in both old and new stories. No need to fix it if it ain’t broken, right? Now, here they all are, collected in one infographic.
The magical ingredients found in almost all great stories:
10 Storytelling Elements
Here are some of the most widely used storytelling elements (in chronological order):
1. The Contract
In the very beginning, you have to make a promise. Will this be violent? Scary? Fun? Tense? Dramatic?
2. The Pull
Provide context to pull the audience into your story.
3. The Incident
The event sets everything in motion. It should occur early and keep the story moving forward.
4. The Reveal
Allow your characters to learn what the story is about — and what’s at stake.
5. Point of No Return
The forces of good face an impossible decision that concerns fear, safety, love, hate, revenge, or despair.
Sorry, but you must allow the forces of evil to have an epic win.
7. All-is-Lost Moment
The moment where all is lost. It would help if you portrayed the most profound despair for the forces of good.
8. News of Hope
A possibility for a side character to shine. A light that shines into the total darkness of the moment.
9. The Climax
The shit hits the fan, and the good puts everything at risk but overcomes — despite impossible odds.
10. The Pay-Off
Public displays of relief and happiness, love, and forgiveness. We also learn that the hero has evolved.
Update: Want to see these storytelling elements applied to an actual story? Read also Storytelling Elements in Star Wars: A New Hope.
|Dramaturgy. (2023, April 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramaturgy|