[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/share-your-story-podcast ]
My first Physics’ lesson at Sondes Place Secondary was simply unforgettable. Mr Stubbs powered up his Van de Graaff Generator and sent an electric shock through all us First-Form boys. I’ve tried to bury the memory, but I do believe all we boys had to hold hands too - yuk! The result was instant! In shock, I immediately and irrevocably decided Physics was NOT for me!
Mr Stubbs added insult to injury by giving us our first homework, “Write an essay about ‘Electricity’.” It was the first and only time I remember having so-called ‘Writer’s Block’. Why? Because the subject area was too large and the focus too weak… I didn’t know where to start. My grades reflected this inauspicious beginning.
Writing a blog can be like that, can’t it?
You’ve got a great story in you but you, too, can be intimidated by the tyranny of the empty page. Where do we begin? “At the beginning!” is the kind of response that should provoke a punch in the kisser!
No, we benefit from structure.
May I offer one, and then an invitation?
All powerful stories lead us through a journey. I say ‘powerful’ and not necessarily ‘happy’. Many of you reading this or listening to the podcast don’t have happy stories with happy endings. You, nevertheless, have a powerful story to share.
Stories that capture our imagination have a hero that we like (that’s YOU!)
The Hero has a problem – sometimes many problems. This is a vital part of the story. This is not Facebook where the profile projects life is wonderful and sanitised. This could be Hell.
The Hero is an emerging Hero… not quite there yet – they need to be transformed as they travel, “The Hero’s Journey.” Their problems may be internal, like self-doubt, or external, like an illness or other threat. They may be facing a moral or philosophical dilemma. And of course, there’s always the baddie.
Behind the most memorable problems there is always a Villain! You must tell us about the Villain! This may be the Black Dog of Depression, the Monster-in-Law, or a certain unmentionable Voldemort-virus.
Great stories need a Cast to make the plot compelling. In our story, we are going to have one or more Guides – the Wise Soul that brings us the insight we need to overcome our problem… just in the nick of time. The Guide has some kind of Authority – and whilst they may not be Gandalf or Obi-Wan Kenobi with special powers, they will be an expert in their field. Their Kung Fu is strong!
Our Guide also ‘gets’ us in some unique way. They understand us and our plight, and we trust them. Perhaps they were once like us.
The best Guides have a secret map, or a strategy, or a plan that they urge us to follow. This is the treasure most essential to our future success and the metamorphosis of our character.
Finally, there’s a fork in the road. If you, the Becoming Hero, turn one way, disaster will strike. But if you make the courageous choice, there is a better ending, and maybe even a happy one. We need to understand both of these.
You, your problems, your Guides, the plan, the action you choose, the result – there’s your plot outline. Now, will you share your story?
The audience is listening… and so is Caroline!
[btw, honour where honour is due – this is adapted from, “Building A Storybrand,” by Don Miller.]
A Moodscope member.