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  The Story Triangle

The Story Triangle

In order to tell a strong, balanced story, you need to consider the needs of your audience, the integrity of your story, and your own passions and interests as a storyteller. All of these have equal importance when it comes to using storytelling techniques to reach people and build a following and an online presence. You can access this triangle from any angle. I am constantly playing with which element to approach first and what needs to be saved for last. The answer is always “any of them.”

In order to make the Story Triangle work, you need to maintain balance in all relationships :

  • The storyteller is conscious of the flow of the story and the interests of the audience.
  • The story is supported by a storyteller who shares something she cares about and the audience members see themselves in that narrative.
  • The audience is engaged when the storyteller is passionate and shares a story that is relevant and well-told.

You can look back to the course notes to see how this works but essentially, you just need to remember that all elements of the triangle effect each other at every turn.

As with all important relationships, the story relationship is based on love. As screenwriter and marketing consultant John Yorke says, “Stories die when there is nothing to love.”

In order to care about a story, the audience needs to love the person giving the message. That might be the protagonist in a book or film. Or, in our case, it is about inspiring the readers to love you. In order to inspire that kind of feeling, you need to love the story you’re telling and you need to love your audience.

Stories that don’t work

And then there are the stories that do not work, due to a lack of love or just a case of misplaced attention. These are the stories that are out of balance:

If a narrative is all story: Instantly, I think of my six year old describing her dreams. “And then, and then, and then…” It’s usually Anna and Elsa and the crew from How to Train Your Dragon. The story takes over, she gets lost in the plot so it isn’t reflecting her world and she certainly doesn’t have any idea about whether I am interested.

If a narrative is all reader: The writer is falling all over himself trying to “tell ‘em what they want to hear.” This isn’t going to keep people interested. This probably sounds more like a pitch and high pressure sales because it is not rooted in an authentic voice or in a story that will really engage people - especially not when you’re seeking to promote something like healing or other personal support.

If you undervalue your own point of view and your own expertise because you are trying to create an easy message that should play well in the marketplace you won’t be satisfied by the writing practice and your potential clients will see right through you.

If a narrative is “all you”: You know the dreaded TMI (too much information) when you read it - it’s all the shocking, gory intimacies from someone’s life or just a bunch of irrelevant details. Or, it’s all ego driven stuff that seems to imply that the writer is at the center of the universe.

Keep these cautionary tales in mind as we dive into how to share the right story with the right audience as you, the storyteller, share the right details about your life, your ideas, and your work.

The goal of this course is to prepare you when you have a brilliant idea, recall a key story from your own life, or observe something in your evolving work and help you shape it into a story that matters to you and to your ideal audience. You are so ready for this!