Storytelling 101

Diverse women role models grouped together against a pink background under the words Storytelling 101
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Storytelling 101 (1:59)

“When you’re thinking about creating a great story, it’s really thinking about how will someone connect with the story that you’re creating? How will they connect with the world? Do they understand it? Is there something that helps them ground what they know in the world that you’re creating? And most importantly, who are the characters in that world? And how do you have that player or viewer feel like they’re part of it?”

Video Transcript

When you’re thinking about creating a great story, it’s really thinking about how will someone connect with the story that you’re creating? How will they connect with the world? Do they understand it? Is there something that helps them ground what they know in the world that you’re creating? And most importantly, who are the characters in that world? And how do you have that player or viewer feel like they’re part of it?

A compelling story is something that I think touches everyone. It’s something that shows people at the moment of change, of pivotal moments. It’s a story that engages us in ways that helps to transform us.

If you start with complex characters and authentic characters, they really drive your story, because as people, we’re complex.

Good story, in my opinion, has conflict. Because stories are about getting past something or through something or around something.

What are these elements? The kind of rising action, the risk our hero needs to to to be able to take? What are the things she has to challenge herself to overcome to achieve this? What kind of thing must she want, and how much must she want it for us to be really invested? And then of course there’s this big peak, the climax of of any story, where it’s all on the line. You can’t turn back.

What’s the, “Well, what’s going to happen next?” question that you have in your head? Your viewers, your audience will have those same questions. So try to take them logically through the story and answer the questions that come up in your head.

We have all these platforms available where young people are telling their story. So I encourage you to do that. And if you have any interest in making storytelling your career or something you want to do, start now.

Discussion Guide

Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about storytelling.

Classroom Lesson Plan

Stories are powerful tools that can teach us about ourselves, life, and others. Role models in this video share their advice for creating and telling compelling stories for fun or as a future career.

Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.

Empowerment Activities

Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.

Related Empowerment Lessons:

Fun Page Activity

Fun Page Activity: In this “Story Writing Challenge”, you select from lots of funny options and then practice creating your own story. Remember to think about the qualities of a good story while you are writing!