A story map is reflects the plot points in the story core elements in a deeper, more sophisticated way. It includes the plotting of the emotional elements and maps out the plot in a way that makes sense; specifically, the problem, transformation, and resolution. A story map is using a visual tool that helps the creator see the story arch and any potentially missing elements.
A story map is turned into a script, or the written narrative of the story. The script creates the dialogue for the narrator or the conversation between characters that unveil the story core. When the script takes the story core and turns it into a compelling narrative, the audience will to want to hear the message until the end. The script is the the foundation for the story table.
The story table consists of a table with two columns. On one side of the table is the script, and on the other side is a description of the images or media that should be taking visually place during that spot in the script. Using a story map and story table can help the writer or producer save money when planning for a production.
2. How does the story core work?
The story core is the basic story of transformation that happens due to the challenges and opportunities in the characters of the story. It is a challenging problem that compels a person to grow, digress, or transform as a result of that challenge. The purpose of the story core is that it provides a way to structure and identify the story in media. This applies to all forms of business, advertisements, documentaries and more. The story core is the narrative that causes the audience to want to hear the message until the end. It puts audience members in state of anticipation and engagement as they watch the story’s characters transform.
I respect the way Dr. Neal identified and organized the key components of story structure according to the various theorists. Some authors define stories as simply having a beginning, middle and end; others require conflict, tests, and struggles. McKee’s elements include strategic sequence, arousal of emotions, an express view of life and events characters’ life stories. Simmons components of story includes a point of view detail, characters, and events, Campbell’s components include a call to action, tests and a helper, and so on.
I must say that I have massive appreciation for the visual mind map that Neal used to describe the content areas of this literature review. The way he organized the mind map made it an contemporary educational piece on the primary and secondary theoretical
foundations of story in and of itself, with the primary foundations being narrative and traditional structure, social group dynamics, social media communication and qualitative analysis. The secondary foundations go into the details of each one. Seeing it laid out this way helped my brain grasp a batch of concepts in a coherent way.
Our life experiences, or stories, help us organize and understand how we became who we are today. As new experiences come in, for better or worse, the things that matter to us change (Greigor, 2013). This means that the stories we choose to tell ourselves, or tell about ourselves to others, changes with time. McAdams (2008) explains that the stories we tell ourselves form our self-identities and create our personalities. People are defined by their stories and rewrite their own self-defining life stories as needed.
People, particularly when young adults, experiment with different stories or different angles of the same story, by telling them to their family and friends. Eventually people figure out their life themes and learn to present their identity by choosing the proper story lines to share (McAdams, 2008). If we have the power to change and polish our stories, then, does changing our stories have the power to change our lives?
Ullrich & Lutgendorf (2002) found that telling one’s story can bring powerful benefits, not just in terms of organizing our identities, but for people who have experienced suffering, telling their stories can even create changes in the brain. However, these benefits are not achieved when people simply recite the facts of their traumatic experience. The benefits occur when people make a cohesive narrative that includes their feelings and what their painful experiences mean to them now (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). Niederhoffer & Pennebaker (2009) explain that as people tell their stories, they structure them and give them meaning which ultimately allows their past experiences to become integrated in their self-identity in a healthy way. McAdams (2008) explains that “changes in narrative identity constitute real personality change” (p. 246).
People have the power to control their narratives as they have a menu of stories from which they can choose. These stories are chosen and interpreted from within the culture where they exist. They can also choose to modify their stories as their understanding evolves and their values change. In a professional sense, storytelling can be help people take control of their life stories and by so doing, actively craft a healthy self-identity.
Gregoire, C. (2013). What your ‘life story’ really says about you. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/how-your-life-story-is-a-_n_4284006.html
McAdams, D. (2005). Studying lives in time: A narrative approach. Towards an Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Life Course Advances in Life Course Research, 10, 237-258. doi:10.1016/S1040-2608(05)10009-4
Niederhoffer, K.G. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2009, July). Sharing one’s story: On the benefits of writing or talking about emotional experience. In Snyder, C.R., Lopez, S.J. Eds, Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology (2nd ed.) Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187243.013.0059
Pennebaker, J. W., & Beall, S. K. (1986). Confronting a traumatic event: Toward an understanding of inhibition and disease. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 274– 281. http://dx.doi.org.fgul.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/0021-843X.95.3.274
Ullrich, P. M. & Lutgendorf, S. K. (2002). Journaling about stressful events: Effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 24, 3), 244-50.
Perhaps the most powerful realization for me in Haven's chapters is that the foundation for understanding human narrative is to grasp the intent of the characters. In every culture, the most fundamental elements of story include having a character with a goal. However, understanding that a character is on a mission does not necessarily explain the intent. An effective story needs to enable the receiver to understand the actions, events, rational and purposes from the perspective of a character.
Intent is created out of the character’s goals and motives that reveal why the goal is so important to the character. Motives and goals shed insight into the character's beliefs and values and therefore dictate behavior. In turn, behavior can give clues to the underlying values, goals, and beliefs of the character. However, since each person has his or her own experiences, filters, and internal story scripts, the interpretation of the character's intent can take on completely different colors. Haven reminds authors that even though they might intend for a story to have a specific meaning,, each receiver will create his own meaning out of the story bits and ascribe the character intentions that may not match the intention of the author. Furthermore, when data is missing, the mind, craving closure, pulls from its own archives and fills in any missing data in a way that makes sense.
I particularly loved the example Haven gave of the monster illustration. Even though two monsters of identical size and expression were shown running through a tunnel, the perspective of the tunnel made one monster appear larger. Since one monster was in front of the other, one not only looked smaller, but the positioning caused people to attribute motives to the monsters: one was the big, angry predator and the other was the little frighten prey. Although the expressions were identical in size and expression, context and perception caused people to believe that the "smaller" monster in front had an expression of fear, while the monster that was bigger had an expression of anger. Viewers interpreted the expressions through the filter of the intentions they ascribed to the monsters. Their interpretations, however, we not supported by the facts they were presented. The researchers in this study concluded that “essential story emotions and elements were more powerful than facts.” This illustrates how powerful a character’s intention is within a story. A person’s understanding of a character’s intention is the key that unlocks emotion and the platform through which the entire story will be interpreted.
Positive psychologist Shawn Achor describes how there are 11 million pieces of information from our nerve endings that bombard our brains, but our brains only comprehend 40 bits of information per second. If we want to capture the attention of someone’s busy brain, we have to do something that causes our message to rise above the noise. This is where stories become our knights in shining armor. For example, imagine a king being presented a long list of words explaining facts about the army of a nearby kingdom. The parts of the king’s brain that would get activated are the language areas,(Broca’s area and Wernick’s area) whose job it is to interpret meaning of those words. Think of these areas as two crusty old philosophers whose job it is to sit in the royal library and interpret the meaning of words. Sometimes the meaning of the words gets so lost in the brain’s translation library that the king doesn’t realize what is truly important or when to take action.
Sometimes the explanatory words will make immediate sense and the meaning will retained forever. Too often, however, important facts goes in one ear and out the other. But if the prince wakes up the king and explains those same facts in the form of a story, a sleeping dragon in the insula of the brain wakes up, yawns, opens his eyes wide and starts to pay attention. If the story shared is a story that evokes emotion or reveals danger on the horizon, the king will be far more likely to listen, understand and take immediate action. The king’s brain pays attention to the story as it produces signs of arousal, increases the heart rate and breathing, and releases stress hormones.
When a story has captured our attention long enough, we may begin to transport into the story until we resonate with the characters, mirror their emotions and feel empathy. Empathy is increased by the release of oxytocin in the brain, the neurochemical that activates transportation, and stories activate this process. The more oxytocin released by the story, the more likely that person who heard the story will take action. Telling stories engage larger portions of the brain. Studies have proven that stories activate the regions in the brain that process movement, sights, taste and sounds, making stories far more memorable than fact listing. Jerome Bruner explained that a fact is “wrapped in a story is 22-times more memorable.” As Amanda D’Annunici explains, the brain naturally sees the world through narrative, and that is why stories grab our attention and more fully engage the entire human experience.
- Fielding Graduate UniversityPhD Media Psychology, 2014 - present
- University of PhoenixMBA, 2006 - 2008
- Brigham Young UniversityB.S. Psychology, 1989
- Word Hunt
- Technorazzi MagazineFounder, present
- iMedia CandyTech Exec.,, present
- Contagious Appsco-founder, 2013
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