Every writer should learn from ancient techniques such a story telling, even if they don’t write novels or stories. Why? Because you always write for an audience even if that audience is one single person. And this is the reason why I am writing today about the story triangle.
The story triangle is a relationship between you, your story and your audience.
You have a special relationship with your story. It is dear to you. This might be one of the reasons why you want to share it with the world, be it in the form of a poem, a novel, a film or a non fiction book. You want to be heard. You want your story to be heard. That is wonderful. And in today’s modern age it has become easier than ever before as anyone can publish an e-book or kindle book nearly for free. But this also means that to stand out, you need to be the best version of yourself that you can.
A mistake a lot of writers make, however, is to neglect their audience. They have a relationship with their story but forget about who is likely to read it. And one of the first question I ask any aspiring writer is “Who is your reader?” You might think it does not matter but I invite you to revise your opinion. Any artist has to have a relationship with its audience, even if they think they have none. And if you neglect a relationship, it can become dysfunctional. Once your story is released into the world (or your work of art, if you are a visual artist) you no longer control how people are going to react to it. But if you think a little about how important it is to know your audience you will understand how important it is for you to identify that person.
Let me give you an example: You don’t tell a story the same way to someone who is in a hurry than to someone who takes life on a slow pace. This is probably the biggest difference between a best seller thriller and a lazy summer read. One has to constantly grab the attention of the reader, the other has more space (don’t let that be an excuse to digress too much though because you can lose your reader very fast) to explore and digress. As your story is so important to you, take a little time to think who you want to write for. What kind of impact you want your story to have. And once you gain some clarity, start crafting it by respecting the genre of the story that your audience likes to read.
Some of you might get indignant and tell me they write for the sake of literature and why should they care? Perhaps we shouldn’t, but it also depends on why you write. If you want to share your story with the world, you will have to have a connection with others, as per the golden story triangle mentioned above. That relationship is just as important as your relationship to your story or the relationship of your audience to your story. The triangle must be balanced.
I encourage you to talk to your “typical reader” and tell them your story in a few sentences to test whether they might be interested in it. You might find a friend of a friend of a friend who will kindly do that for you. Or maybe you want to tell your story to everyone you come across to test how wide an audience you can reach. The more you practice clarifying your story (even before you write it) the easier it is going to be to write it and sell it to a publisher. So practice telling your story to a variety of audience and pay attention to their reaction to your story. This might help to shape it and could be precious feedback along the way.
To your creativity