Introduction to Storytelling

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Storytelling
Introduction to Storytelling

The Future of Storytelling is a MOOC ( Massive Open Online Course ) promoted by the Design Department at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, starting on 25 October 2013

Learning results:

1. How do fictional stories work? Which structures and mechanics are used?

2. How do new technologies influence the ways stories are told and perceived – and which new media formats have been developed during the last years?

3. How can technologies, interfaces and visuals engage an audience fast and continuously?

4. How can I develop and implement my own story-ideas – on my own or in teams?


What is Storytelling?

Consists of a STORY & TELLING part:

  •  IDEAS ( pieces of information, which are tightly interwoven) are shared, narrated and presented by a storyteller
  •  usage of different LANGUAGES e.g written narrative, music, film or it can be  a plan, a fragment, the story of the universe, a life story…

22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling (by PB&J Publishing)


Difference Story & Plot (according to David Bordwell):

unit1_storyvsplot(Storymooc 2013 University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)

  • STORY –  Events in original linear order
  • PLOT – Order and duration of events as they are presented to us


Story Structure: Narrative Units (according to Screen writing advisor Robert McKee)

unit1_storystructure(Storymooc 2013 University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)

  • A beat is a change in behaviour in an action/reaction
  • A scene often presents actions or interactions at one place / at one time
  • A Sequence is a gathering of scenes that belong together and are combined in an overlapping goal/ motive
  • An act is a series of sequences that peaks in a climatic scene

THREE – ACT – STRUCTURE ( in classic stories)

  • Act 1 – Exposition – Meet
  • Act 2 – Confrontation – Lose
  • Act 3 – Resolution – Get


Story Structure: Story Design (by Robert McKee)

Inciting Incident > Object of Desire > Pursuit of Desire > CLIMAX ( shaped in a progressive way)

  • HOOK
  • HOLD

An Interview with Robert McKee


Classical Design = ARCHPLOT

Archplot is a goal-oriented plot where,

for better or worse, an event throws a character’s life out of balance, arousing in him the conscious and/or unconscious desire for that which he feels will restore balance, launching him on a Quest for his Object of Desire against forces of antagonism (inner, personal, extra-personal). He may or may not achieve it (McKee, 196).

Definitions: Archplot- Anti-Plot and Miniplot (by McKee)

The Hero’s Journey is a common pattern in stories



How to create an emotional impact?

  • Identifying with the characters ( especially the protagonists) by giving them a goal /a desire to achieve and
  • a conflict that they have to overcome or be defeated by


Building characters

Your characters shape the action / the story and the other way round

  • Who is he/she/it?
  • What does he/she/it want?
  • Why?