When I was younger, I remember my neighbor driving me and my friends, their children, down our hill saying “Anthony, you’re going to grow up a storyteller.” At the time, I think they were more referring to my habit of lying at that age, but to me it was a badge of honor that I still try to uphold (telling fun stories this time around).
My preferred method is that of the nested loop. As described per Ffion Lindsay’s article here:
Nested loops is a storytelling technique where you layer three or more narratives within each other.
You place your most important story – the core of your message – in the center, and use the stories around it to elaborate or explain that central principle. The first story you begin is the last story you finish, the second story you start is second to last, etc.
Nested loops works a bit like a friend telling you about a wise person in their life, someone who taught them an important lesson. The first loops are your friend’s story, the second loops are the wise person’s story. At the center is the important lesson.
For me, there’s a wonderful story in each of us about someone we revere and who made a tremendous impact on our lives. Those stories are gripping and can leave you on the edge of your seat with suspense or jumping out of your chair in cheer. I want to tell those stories and provide people with that link between one another through biographical examples and, hopefully, inspiring stories of growth and lessons learned.
Not all of the pieces I’ll ever want to do will be to motivate and connect people. Some will be to share history with someone or to show the darkness that dwells in the shadows of humanity. A different tone and voice will have to be made for each subject appropriately. To me, that’ll be the most exciting; seeing what I can do with the variety of stories that one can tell from a memory or a central theme throughout.
This may be a bit of a stretch, but I feel that Cloud Atlas is a prime example of this method.