June 4, 2022

Khad S.

Khad S is a storyteller and an op-ed and creative writer

Inspiration From Storytelling

Learn the key aspects of great storytelling to impart inspiration

Storytelling is more than just a form of entertainment that can provide an escape from reality, it can also be a tool to help create the inspiration that the audience could use to change their own realities. But in order to create a narrative that can achieve this, it’s important to understand the steps that a story must go through first. The ancient Greeks, notably Aristotle in his work Poetics, made this point clear and stated that the story should go through three stages: Fear, sympathy and catharsis.

So, if you are interested in using the medium of storytelling to help your readers, then continue reading to understand these three stages.

Using Fear in Storytelling

Fear is an emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It’s a natural feeling that arises when we are worried about the potential outcome of a situation or exposed to danger, and Aristotle understood the role this emotion had in creating a captivating story.

He argued that a tragedy should take place in the story to create fear within the character. Once that occurs, it will make the reader identify with the character and feel fear alongside them. The intention behind this strategy is to have the audience emotionally invested in the character’s tragic predicament and subsequently yearn for an escape or a solution. 

You can read more about the different types of tragedies or conflicts that could be used in storytelling here.

Storytelling Inspiration

Since fear is a common emotion, then certainly, the audience will relate to and extrapolate the emotional energy from the character in the story. By making the character fearful of an impending or worsening tragedy, the audience will reflect back to their own experience of fear and continue reading the story to see how the character manages to overcome it. If the character succeeds, the audience may use this development as a source of inspiration and face their own unique fears in their lives by making necessary changes.

You can find out more about how storytelling can be used for inspiration here.

Evoking Sympathy

When misfortune befalls someone, it’s part of human nature to feel sympathetic to their ordeal and clearly, Aristotle understood this because he argued that a tragedy in a story is necessary in order to evoke sympathy from the audience for the afflicted character. Pity in storytelling is intended to make you care for  the character’s plight and well-being and to root for them like they’re the hero of the story.

However, pity, just like fear, serves a much bigger purpose in storytelling. Evoking these emotions from the audience is a tactic that Aristotle believed would produce the build-up to a climactic end, which is known as “catharsis”. 

Catharsis in Storytelling

Catharsis in the context of storytelling is what Aristotle described as the purging of pity and fear that was incited by the tragedy in the story. In other words, fear and pity are converted into feelings of relief as a result of a situation that solves the plight of the character. 

It’s in this final stage that you will have an opportunity to inspire your audience! By creating a situation where the character overcomes their issues, the audience will be liberated from the built-up emotions of pity and fear that kept them hooked throughout the story. The reason for this is because they identified with the character’s triumph and depending on how relatable the story is to the personal lives of the audience; they will almost certainly extrapolate that character’s success story and use it as a source of inspiration for their own personal struggles.

However, there’s a caveat. To make sure that these three stages are successful, you must have first thoroughly covered the foundation upon which they will be built. You can read about how to structure your story here.

Master Storytellers: Hire a Writer

Writing an inspirational and compelling story can sometimes seem like a challenge and you as the writer may require inspiration of your own to achieve this. Fortunately, at Hire a Writer, you will find excellent support in crafting your story from expert writers that can provide ideas and encouragement. Get in touch!

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