The greatest stories are about journeys. Great journeys are about adventure, good times and bad.
Life is just the same. Fear and love, success and failure, beginnings and endings. Life and death.
I talk about the use of Juxtaposition to craft stories that stick. Juxtaposition is quite a word. It even sounds great when you say it. Some people worry about what it means. It means what you position next to what, a contrast if you like. I like juxtaposition because it’s flexible, more 3 D that the word contrast. Contrast is a bit more black and white.
A favourite and powerful example of juxtaposition is Obama’s winning speech, where he juxtaposed some of the most compelling stories of the 20th century into one; black people and women getting the vote, t he advance of technology, putting a man on the moon, new deal economics and a range of takes on the American dream.
There is a polarity in great stories, a beat, so they swing from happy to sad, sad to happy, breakdown to breakthrough. Today we have frequently lost the art of great storytelling, because we focus too much on one pole or the other, the world is all doom in gloom, or it is all gloss and tinsel. But we know, we really know that the real stories we engage with are the journeys through a range of good and bad experiences.
And just as electricity moves between poles, the energy and the movement between posiive and negative strikes a very powerful chord with us.
We have to put dreadful phrases such as “don’t go there’ and “too much information’ to death. We need to ‘go there’ about the good the bad and the ugly in our experience, to tell the Untold Stories because they are the ones that are remembered and acted upon.