We recently caught the redecorating bug around the Stryde office. Bare white walls are now covered with scores of decals. Including our mission statement and a collection of our favorite quotes. Inspiration should be all around you, right?
One of my favorite quotes we’ve stuck on the wall is this:
“Good stories and storytelling last forever.”
So, I got to thinking about storytelling as I was munching on my Friday morning donut. A search for “storytelling 101” on Google turns up a whole host of content marketing blog posts about the topic. But, not in the sense I was expecting. All of the articles surrounded basically the same theme: evoke emotions, make people feel something.
I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. The greatest stories ever told have stood the test of time because they conjure real emotions.
Kinda easier said than done. Evoking an emotion is tough, no matter what that emotion may be. But, a simple revisit to English class will shed some light on how you can achieve just that. And hopefully give you some insights on how you can take the tried-and-true writing methods and apply them to your next blog post.
The Common Thread
99.9% of the books you read, movies, and TV shows you watch follow the essentially same basic format. This will most likely look familiar to you, depending on your recollection of your Junior High English class. It’s the good old Plot Diagram.
While there are mild deviations to this structure, you’ll find that most stories have this basic format.
The 7 Pieces of the Plot Diagram
First, we’ll go into the explanations of each of the 7 main points of a plot structure. Then, we’ll explore how we can apply these concepts to evoke feelings from our own blog posts.
- Exposition – The exposition is also called the introduction of the story. Here’s where author introduces the characters, setting, and lets the reader know of the main problem looming in the distance.
- Point of Conflict – Dun, dun, DUUUNNN. The point of conflict is where the story says, “Fasten your seat belts! We’re in for a bumpy ride!”
- Rising Action – The suspense builds and the problem only seems to escalate. The author may give the reader brief reliefs in action, only to lift them back up again with more suspense.
- Emotional Climax – AKA what you’ve been waiting for! Typically, this is the most exciting part of a story.
- Falling Action – This part of the story can be swift or drawn out, and it’s meant to ease the reader off of the extreme emotional high they just experienced from the climax.
- Dénouement– I jump at any chance to use fancy French words. Essentially, the Dénouement is the “Technical Climax” of the story. It’s where the logistics are hashed out in a way that isn’t clouded by raw emotion.
- Resolution – That’s all folks! Here’s where all of the loose ends that remain are tied up into a neat little story bow by the author.
Plot Diagrams and Blog Post Structure
“Awesome, Emily, I can use this to write a novel. We’re here to talk about blogs.” Hold your horses there, bub! You can apply each of these aspects to your next blog post. Here’s how:
- Exposition – Instead of introducing characters and setting, you’ll be introducing the topic at hand. Whether that’s about Google’s new algorithm or the latest Facebook user experiment, draw your readers in with clearly describing the facets of what you are going to discuss.
- Point of Conflict – Here’s where you’ll tell your reader exactly why they’re taking the time to read your piece. Why should they read on? What’s in it for them? Express that clearly, and succinctly, at this point.
- Rising Action – Everything you decide to include in the rising action section should directly support what you told your readers in the point of conflict. Showcase your numbers, raw data, and evidence here, and it will function as the “body” of your post.
- Emotional Climax – You should carefully craft this as the “Ah-ha!” moment for your readers. Create a point in your post where everything comes together for the reader, make that light bulb turn on in their head.
- Falling Action – As with the falling action portion for the original plot diagram, use this time to ease your reader off of the “Ah-ha!” moment. Reinforce why your point makes sense and prepare the reader for the wrap-up.
- Dénouement – The dénouement is the real kicker in evoking emotions through your blog post. You’ve just lead the reader on quite the journey, and they’ve even learned something! Now, you drive the point home again with an angle they hadn’t previously thought of or a statement to make them delve deeper on their own about the topic at hand. Be controversial. Be memorable.
- Resolution – Again, just as with the original plot diagram, wrap up your riveting blog post in a pretty little bow for your readers. Remind them what they learned and how it can help them.
Bringing It All Together
Hopefully, now you won’t look at the prospect of evoking emotions as such an insurmountable task. If you can remember to apply the basics of writing, your blog posts will be much more successful in achieving your goals.
Take your readers on a journey. A journey that makes them laugh, cry, angry, uncomfortable, or even pensive. I find another great general tip to ensure your writing has feeling is to actively and purposefully feel how you want the reader to feel as you’re writing. While that may seem strange at first, your inner emotions can’t help but be expressed through the words you put onto a page. If you’re creating a post about how much you love a new Pinterest feature, FEEL that love as you write!
My one caveat to my aforementioned statement is similar to what the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” But, in this case, “Write with feeling, edit without.” Always make sure you’re proofreading and editing without the cloud of emotions. You’ll avoid many careless mistakes this way!
How are you telling stories? Share your methods in the comments!