Dramatic Storytelling

What is Dramatic Storytelling?

drama-312318_1280This type of storytelling can be used in both fiction and non-fiction. In this series of articles we’ll talk about how you tell a story and how you refine your stream of consciousness writing into a workable dramatic story. The keys to dramatic storytelling that we will discuss are Drama, Conflict, and Suspense.

Drama –

Drama makes a story interesting. It’s taking the facts and then making them live. Whether fiction or nonfiction you are taking the facts and making them live. In fiction those facts may be imagined but you’re still taking those facts and making them live. Drama is what heightens the interest and charges the atmosphere of the writing. The more you make the drama increase, the more you increase the suspense and uncertainty. Drama must be portrayed if action and suspense are going to be part of the story. You can’t have action and suspense without drama.

Conflict –

Before you can have drama you have to have conflict. That’s the essence of storytelling. It contains someone or something struggling with someone or something and the outcome is in doubt until the end. Conflict is the key in all forms of story writing. Conflict means drama. So for a good story to emerge the conflict has to be really clear. Who or what is pitted against who or what. Not only are we looking at who is the conflict between but we also have to understand the consequence of that conflict.

The conflict can be external conflict. It can be between people or people and an animal or people and the environment or it can be an internal conflict that a person has something happening on the inside. Something is missing from their life. You can have both an external and internal conflict. You can have layers of conflict going on through the book, but there must be at least one layer of conflict.

Suspense –

Suspense means uncertainty. So you’re building that uncertainty into the conflict to create the suspense to carry the reader forward because the reader wants to know more. Action and suspense are two forms of drama. When we write something that has action, something is being done mentally or physically. And then a suspense scene is a buildup of that uncertainty, which is keeping the reader guessing.

Conflict creates drama and that establishes the focus of the action of the suspense to follow.

When we’re portraying an event, something that’s going to break up the tone of the writing, you want to jar the readers complacency, that’s what dramatic impact is – take the reader out of their comfort and make them think about something, whether it’s through action or suspense.

In non-fiction you want to bring them into your story so that they are really standing in your story. They’ve lost themselves in the story – they’re in it. They experience what it is you’re trying to convey. Sometimes it’s to help them transform or to have an Aha moment. Whatever that reason is, they are looking for clues that are going to reveal something about themselves so they can become involved in that story.

Now that we’ve captured the reader’s attention, we want to keep it. Again, the confrontation or struggle is what keeps the reader engaged. The best way to gain the reader’s attention is to offer the reader a chance to root for one of the characters in the story. Let the reader take sides. You want that confrontation to be vivid enough to provide the reader a chance to jump in and root for someone. Those are the types of things that hook the reader. It may be that someone starts reading and they identify with a character, they are like that character and they want to root for that character no matter what. Or it could be that the bad guy is the one they want to root for. It just depends on how you want to build the character.

One of the things that you can do that really draws that reader in is to lay the theme in terms of the emotion. What are the emotions of the character or characters? Once you describe that, then the reader is going to feel them. The stronger the emotion the more the reader is going to jump in. If you try to present a conflict without trying to present the emotion, you’re missing a critical aspect of that story. That’s what’s going to build and maintain that drama.

Writers expect readers to stay glued to their story, and at the same time readers expect writers to create a story that keeps them engaged. So there’s a partnership going on between the two. In best-selling books the writers have successfully connected with the audience in a way that the partnership has been met.

Readers look for books for a couple of reasons. They seek them out for enlightenment or intellectual give and take. They are looking for things, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, that stimulate their intelligence and or is enlightening to them. But above all they want a story that takes them out of their own reality. That’s what you’re doing with dramatic storytelling.

Taken from our Inspired Tuesdays Tip Podcast which can be found in our Inspired Mindset Mobile App.  Click here to download.

Left-Brain and Right-Brain Writing

You’ve likely heard the term left-brain and right-brain thinkers. The left side of the brain is related to logic and analytical thinking and the right side of the brain is expressive and creative. To be productive and manifest what you are inspired to create you need both sides to be active, but some people tend to display one side a little stronger than the other. For example, an engineer may display strong left-brain tendencies where an artist will have stronger right brain tendencies.

As a writer we may think that the right side of the brain is more valuable because of the need to be expressive and creative, but actually it’s important that you have them work together in balance.

In school we’re taught to be left-brain writers. We’re taught to create a structure and then fill in that structure. But writing from that place is very difficult. What I have my clients do is write in a stream of consciousness. Just begin writing down everything that comes into your mind, without thinking about it. In stream of consciousness writing, you bring the message of your spirit through you and put that on paper. That voice of spirit originates from that creative place of your right brain.

A lot of writers want to stay in that creative place because it’s so much fun. I like to call it playing in the sandbox of creativity. You’re having fun and who wants to get out of the sandbox when you’re having fun? However, to be a really good writer you eventually have to bring the left brain into the process.

I always suggest that you do the writing and then let it sit for a day before you go back and read it. This allows you to go back to the writing with a fresh mind. However, before you can read what you’ve written you’ll have to change your perspective. If you read your writing as a writer you’re going to want to edit it. That’s a natural instinct. We’re so keyed into editing that many first time writers struggle to get past this. They want to write and edit at the same time and this is actually counterproductive.

I want you to read your writing as a reader. Try to put the editing mode away and read what you’ve written as a first time reader. When you read it back as a reader you will find these pearls of information that have poured out of you in that stream of consciousness writing. These pearls quite often become your chapters or your theme.

Switching between reader and writer is all about intention. Set your intention to be a reader and stay out of the editing mode.

We’re taught all the time to go back and fix our mistakes, but there is more process involved in developing our writing. Most people believe that their writing has to be perfect, but writing is not perfect. Writing is actually pretty sloppy. We can write one section over and over many times.

When published authors are asked what they like most about writing they typically say they enjoy the free flowing writing part of it. The worst part, they say, is taking that and making it into great writing. Polishing your writing is where it becomes more intense. But this stream of consciousness and left-brain refining process helps you find your voice, find your style, and what words you’re going to use.

So remember the right brain is accessing the message from spirit to stimulate your creativity, and the left brain, which could be considered your ego, is trying to make order out of it. The right brain is nebulous; the left brain wants to create something out of it. So you need the ability to move between the two. When you are able to do this without thinking about it, you’ll see your writing move from good to great.

Taken from our Inspired Tuesdays Tip Podcast which can be found in our Inspired Mindset Mobile App.  Click here to download.