Storytelling is an ancient and universal art form that has been used throughout human history to convey ideas, emotions and experiences. At its core, storytelling is the act of telling or sharing a story or narrative with an audience.
A story is a sequence of events, either real or imagined, that has a beginning, middle and end and is often structured around a central conflict or challenge that the characters must face and overcome. Stories can be fictional or non-fictional, personal or universal and can take many forms, including podcasts.
Storytelling has many functions and benefits both for the storyteller and the audience. Here are some of the key aspects of storytelling:
Storytelling is a powerful tool for communication, as it allows people to share their ideas, values and experiences in a way that is engaging and memorable. Stories can convey complex or abstract concepts in a concrete and relatable manner and can bridge cultural, linguistic and generational gaps.
Storytelling can create a sense of connection and empathy between the storyteller and the audience, as well as among the audience members themselves. Through storytelling, people can relate to each other’s struggles, triumphs, joys and sorrows and can build a sense of community and shared humanity.
Storytelling can be a source of entertainment and pleasure as it can transport the audience to imaginary worlds, evoke emotions and sensations and provide a sense of escapism and/or catharsis.
Storytelling can be a powerful educational tool as it transports people to different eras of history, cultures, scientific endeavours and, really, any subject in a fun and engaging way. Stories also inspire curiosity, critical thinking and lifelong learning.
Storytelling can be a way for people to reclaim their voice, agency and identity, especially if they have been marginalised, silenced, or oppressed. Stories can give voice to the voiceless, challenge dominant narratives and promote social justice and activism.
The art of storytelling has evolved over time, as new technologies and media have emerged and as cultural and societal norms have shifted. However, the basic principles of storytelling remain the same: a good story should be engaging, memorable and meaningful and works most effectively when it connects with an audience on a deep emotional level.
Some of the key elements of a good story include:
A story should have a clear and compelling plot, which includes a protagonist who faces a challenge or conflict and undergoes a transformation or resolution.
A story should have well-developed and relatable characters, who have distinct personalities, motivations and flaws who interact with each other in a believable and interesting way. This is reasonably easy to achieve when telling real life stories. Particularly in a disability context.
A story should have a vivid and immersive setting, which includes the time, place and culture in which the story takes place and which can enhance the mood, tone and theme of the story.
A story should have a central theme or message which is the underlying idea or purpose of the story which can resonate with the audience on a universal or personal level. This is a principle that can be applied across a ten episode podcast season. The Kin Advocacy season link in the show notes (https://mrjonmoore.com/kin) is a great example. It has the theme of new Australians with or caring for someone with a disability as they navigate the system and re-establish their lives.
A story or a season of podcasts should have a unique and effective style. This includes the language, tone, pacing and structure of the story or season. This enhances the overall impact and quality of the story/season.
In conclusion, storytelling is a timeless and universal art form that has the power to entertain, educate, connect and empower people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it is through traditional oral storytelling, written literature, visual media and the gentle art of podcasting.