Quick Reference: Story Builder Template

Story Builder_MandyShort and sweet.

Good storytelling is a true art form–and sometimes complex.

Every nonprofit needs a story-bank. A bank of three to six “go to” stories that makes your reader connect to and feel your mission. Your founders story may be compelling, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the only story you need.

It’s our experience that complex doesn’t get done. We’d rather you get good stories about your program out the door today than write a heart-breaking ode to your mission that takes till next year to finish–before your internal editing process eviscerates it anyway.

Let’s streamline your storytelling process to help you build your story-bank.

Story pattern that has stood the test of time

We already know that evolution has wired our brains for storytelling. Joseph Campbell published groundbreaking work that reveals there is one basic story pattern that has stood the test of time over thousands of year. “Harry Potter” “Star Wars” “Lord of the Rings,” all follow this story pattern. The abbreviated version of that pattern is:

  • A hero leaves his everyday life to explore the wonders of the world–or is catapulted into extraordinary circumstances through no choice of his own
  • Challenging or negative forces are encountered and a conclusive victory over an adversary is won
  • The hero returns from this challenging adventure, forever changed and more powerful; and
  • With this new change, power, understanding, or wisdom, he bestows gifts upon his fellow man and the Universe is now a safer place.

Most book agents and, well, readers, will tell you that creating a vivid world view is the difference between a best seller and a clunker. If you think about it, the detail to attention in Harry Potter’s world and Lord of the Rings made you feel as if you were there and pulled you into the story. Keep this in mind as you use detail and sensory images in your story.

None of us are Harry Potter, Frodo, or Luke Skywalker, however, all of these story elements still apply to the stories we tell. Download our Story Builder to find out how.

Today, we’re sharing our Story Builder with you. Upcoming blog posts in our storytelling series will give you ideas on how to modify your story for different communication channels as well as the best way to “find” your stories.  Stay tuned.