The Best Story Framework for More Engaging Storytelling [Example]

Alessio Frateily

Hatched by Alessio Frateily

Aug 30, 2023

4 min read


The Best Story Framework for More Engaging Storytelling [Example]

Storytelling is an essential part of being human. Whether we're recounting a personal experience or crafting content for our businesses, storytelling helps us connect with others on a deeper level. But how do we become better storytellers? One way is to use a storytelling framework that guides us through the writing process. These frameworks provide us with a familiar structure while still allowing room for creativity and individuality.

One popular storytelling template is the Hero's Journey, originally developed by author Joseph Campbell. This template follows a three-act structure and mirrors the journey of our own lives. In Act 1, we introduce the ordinary world, where a character (either the writer or the customer) is living a regular life. This could be a customer who is content with their current provider despite their pain points. Then, there is a Call to Adventure, where the character becomes aware of a problem or task that must be completed. This could be a salesperson guiding a lead towards conversion.

In Act 2, the character crosses the threshold into a new life or experience. This could be a customer who has just made a new purchase and begins their journey of solving the task. Throughout this act, the character faces tests, encounters allies and enemies, and approaches the innermost cave, which is the final battle or challenge. This could be a professional trying to get their entire team to adopt a solution or facing in-team disagreements.

The Ordeal is the climax of Act 2, where the character goes through a battle or showdown. This could be a professional overcoming obstacles or having discussions with stakeholders. Finally, in Act 3, the character goes through the Road Back, dealing with the aftermath of their previous battle. They experience a Resurrection, where they emerge with new power, lessons, or changes, and then Return with the Elixir, either returning home or moving forward into a new adventure.

The Hero's Journey is not the only storytelling template available. Another example comes from comedy writing, which follows a similar structure. In this template, a character is in a zone of comfort but wants something more. They enter an unfamiliar situation, adapt to it, and eventually get what they're looking for but pay a heavy price for it. In the end, they return to their old situation, having changed.

One of the most famous examples of the Hero's Journey in fiction is the Star Wars saga. In the first film, we are introduced to the ordinary world of Luke Skywalker, a farm boy living on a desert planet. He is then called to adventure when he meets robots who need his help. With the guidance of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke crosses the threshold and embarks on an epic space adventure, facing tests, making allies, and encountering enemies along the way. In the end, he overcomes the ordeal and is rewarded for his triumph, emerging as a changed man with newfound power.

The Hero's Journey can also be applied to business storytelling. One example is the case study, where we tell the story of a customer's journey from where they were to where they wanted to be. This framework allows us to focus our creativity and guide our content in a way that is engaging and relatable to our audience.

To further enhance our storytelling framework, we can take inspiration from Benjamin Franklin and his method for mastering writing. Franklin would collect issues of a publication containing some of the best writing of his day and reverse engineer the prose. He would take notes at a sentence level, sit on them for a while, and then try to recreate the sentences from his own head, without looking at the originals. This practice helped him improve his writing skills and develop his own unique voice.

Now that we have explored different storytelling templates and methods, it's time to put them into action. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to enhance your storytelling:

  • 1. Know your audience: Before crafting a story, it's important to understand who you are speaking to. What are their pain points, desires, and motivations? Tailor your story to resonate with your audience and address their specific needs.
  • 2. Be authentic: Authenticity is key in storytelling. Connect with your audience on a genuine level by sharing personal experiences or incorporating real-life examples. People are more likely to engage with stories that feel authentic and relatable.
  • 3. Use visuals and emotions: Visuals and emotions have a powerful impact on storytelling. Incorporate visual elements such as images, videos, or infographics to enhance your story. Additionally, evoke emotions through your words to create a deeper connection with your audience.

In conclusion, storytelling frameworks provide a guide for more engaging storytelling. The Hero's Journey and comedy writing templates offer a structure that mirrors the journeys of our lives. By incorporating unique ideas and insights, like Benjamin Franklin's method, we can further enhance our storytelling abilities. Remember to know your audience, be authentic, and use visuals and emotions to create a compelling story. With these tools, you can captivate your audience and make a lasting impact.

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