Narrative Control

Narrative Control

Moments. Moments define a story and how you remember it. Thing is there are a few different kinds of moments that are important to keeping a consistent flow to your story, and other moments that go beyond what you are showing your audience.
Moments don't exist in isolation, they require other moments so they can earn their spot. Make sure you balance your moments so they play off each other and build on the information already shared.
Narrative Control is understanding what moments to use when, and how to use them. Here's a list of the moments we feel work well for any story.

The Exposition Moment

Exposition gets a bad rap. Yes it can be overbearing, but also necessary. For branded content we usually see this dressed up as an explainer section, or in original stories it's where something big is going to happen, but you need your characters (and audience) to know something.
Exposition doesn't have to be shared in one large monologue, and it shouldn't. Try to think how you can make information interesting, shareable and digestible. We find that the best approach to tackling an information dense subject is to lay down the basics as a skeleton in an early exposition moment, and then build on that skeleton in micro moments throughout the rest of the story.
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming your audience already knows what you are talking about. If you are telling a story, there is a good chance you have been close to it for a long time. It's worth taking a few steps back to find a concise way of sharing the basics that you know, that your audience does not.

The Dinner Party Moment

Storytelling is teaching, and our biggest hope is that when someone experiences our stories, they teach someone else about that story. Dinner Party Moments are what they sound like on the tin, moments that people can lift from your story to repeat to their friends at a dinner party.
They key to a good Dinner Party Moment, is a story within a story. Going back to your Path, think about what small part of your story could be easily lifted and retold. It's worth thinking about how you can create micro-acts with your scenes to give your audience this ability.
For these moments to work well, you need your Exposition Moments to be well crafted so when in a pinch, your newly created bard for your story is sharing, they need to explain the wider world.

The Breathe It In Moment

Sometimes pumping the brakes is exactly what you need to do. It's very likely your Dinner Party moment, was quite exciting or the journey your audience have been on has been quite challenging. Breathe It In Moments are the foil to that pace.
If you can find a place where your characters can revel in beauty of something or your contributors can look back on the progress that's been made, it creates a rest point for your audience.
Progression and achievement are nothing without reflection. This is also one of the only moments that can spark something extremely powerful in storytelling, wonder. Wonder is invoked when your audience get an overwhelming rush of possibility brought to their minds. So now and again, take a moment to breathe it in.

The Devil's Advocate Moment

A particularly sly moment for those crafting branded content that may seem a bit dry. The Devil's Advocate moment is when you a throw a question like "What's the worst advice you've ever heard?" or "Is that actually going to work, or is it just the way it's always been done?". In many stories we look for a way of challenging our characters or contributors. Using a Devil's Advocate Moment, we can create an immediate plot point and in some cases highlight the best of someone's abilities.

The Adrift Moment

We know, it's a bit on the nose to name a moment after ourselves, but the moment came before us. To be Adrift, is to be lost. Sometimes being lost is the best place to be. It requires you to become found, or discover somewhere you've never been.
When we are writing stories we often find ourselves trying to make meaning out of everything, and give credence to every movement a plot makes. However, like in life, being lost can create some of the most memorable moments we have.
At this point you should have your path and a few moments along the way. If you haven't got ahead of yourself, now is the time you should pick your medium.