We all have stories we will remember all our lives. Without question. So what makes them stick?
There are always some juxtapositions, some sharp angles that have a story stay with us for good.
Time and place, and the depth and breadth of the content.
Time and place is about a moment. Great storytellers can create moment through being present, and clear, with a focus 100 percent on their audience.
The content will have actions, goals, and interactions between characters and the world around them. There is detailed scientific research now that shows these elements are what lands a story throughout different centres of the brain.
The X factor is whether a story ‘rings true.’ This is it’s resonance. I have been on a 10 day silent meditation retreat several times. Each morning starts with a gong. Once I took on the responsibility of ringing the gong. There was a well worn thick length of wood to do the job. When you hit the gong just right, the ringing pulsed, and felt. It felt perfect and aligned, like hitting the sweet spot with a golf club. My listening was so acute in the silence that I could hear the ringing fade in ever decreasing waves for ages. I could feel this right throughout my body. It had rung true. It’s impression was lasting. A great story does the same.
I just spent several amazing days in Arnhemland, in the Australian outback. We sat and reflected amongst 10 thousand year old rock drawings on caves; possibly some of the oldest art on the planet. The pictures told stories, that have lasted countless generations. They were very simple; about people and places, and those things that matter as much today as ever; food and shelter. Simple stories, beautiful images, probably not made to last, but created in a moment to powerfully connect with an audience.