Category: Simple Stories

10 posts

The steps involved in crafting a simple and effective story

Don’t bombard people with details

This is one of the biggest story killers of all time. Whether it’s technical details about a product or random facts about the situation (…the guy was wearing a yellow t-shirt, Fruit of the Loom I think, he must have bought it on Amazon but I can’t be sure…) too…

Speak like a human

Use the same type of language you would use when you’re telling a story face-to-face. Just because you’re writing an article, creating a presentation, or producing a video doesn’t mean you have to speak like a poet – or worse – like a corporate robot. Keep it natural and give…

Take your time

We all know about ever decreasing attention spans and the temptation is to try and rush through the story and get to the call to action as quickly as possible. Don’t! Spend some time developing the story to draw people in. The punchline doesn’t need a lot of time in…

Humour is good but don’t overdo it

Unless you’re Ryan Reynolds, humour is tricky. One or two little bits of humour is fine but no more and definitely don’t signpost the places where you expect them to laugh. This isn’t a 70s sitcom so don’t need a laugh track.

Find a good metaphor to tell the story

You don’t have to be blunt and say “a person just like you, didn’t buy our software, and now they’re bankrupt and everyone hates them“. Instead find some metaphor about missed opportunities, fear of change, self-belief. These can come from anywhere and should encourage audiences to imagine the scenario –…

Don’t tell people how they should feel

It’s just plain preachy and will probably blow up in your face because you can’t definitively know how people will react to a particular stimulus. Instead, set up the scenario, characters and events, and trust that your audience will experience the emotions and feelings you anticipated.

Don’t be blatant with emotions

Yes, you want to trigger an emotion but it should be natural – otherwise people will feel manipulated. In other words, put away the sad piano soundtrack, the cute puppy pictures, or the footage of people winning gold medals. Cheap sentimentality and over-the-top enthusiasm will backfire on you..

Find a character people identify with

It’s no use introducing characters so far removed from your audiences’ own experiences that they can’t relate to them or who they can empathise with. The more specific this persona, the less likely people are to relate to them and the more likely they are to not care (Think about…

Talk about a relatable problem

In the situation you’ve just identified, find a problem which people have experienced, can recognise, or can empathise with.

Use a recognisable situation

Avoid the temptation to base your story on wildly hypothetical scenarios that most people won’t recognise or believe. Not everyone wants to explore parallel universes or futuristic metaverses.