The term storytelling is sexy for a reason – it’s nothing less than a foundation of humanity.
Mastering it will make you more likeable, form deeper social connections and have more business success.
But for a story to work, you must first draw people in and spark their interest.
If you don’t get the audience intrigued from the start, any interesting plot twists and breakthroughs won’t matter.
In today’s newsletter, I try answering a simple yet complex question: How to write a good introduction for a story?
Here’s my checklist for reviewing intros I’ve crafted for for videos, presentations, posts, and sales letters. I’ve adapted it from Lisa Cron’s book “Wired for story.”
- Do we know whose story it is? There must be someone through whose eyes we are viewing the world – aka the protagonist. Think of your protagonist as the reader’s surrogate in the world that you, the writer, are creating.
- Is something happening? Don’t just set the stage for later conflict. Jump right in with something that will affect the protagonist and so make the reader hungry to find out what the consequence will be. After all, unless something is already happening, how can we want to know what happens next?
- Is there conflict in what’s happening? Will the conflict have a direct impact on the protagonist’s quest, even though your reader might not yet know what that quest is?
- Is something at stake in the intro? And, as important, is your reader aware of what it is?
- Is there a sense that “all is not as it seems”? This is especially important if the protagonist isn’t introduced immediately, in which case it pays to ask: Is there a growing sense of focused foreboding that’ll keep the reader hooked until the protagonist appears in the not-too-distant future?
- Can we glimpse enough of the “big picture” to understand why the things we observe matter? It’s the “big picture” that gives readers perspective and conveys the point of each scene, enabling them to add things up. If we don’t know where the story is going, how can we tell if it’s moving at all?
I hope this checklist helps you have more success telling your stories and better understand why you enjoy the stories you do.
Wishing you success,
Your friend Vahur
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