Storytelling is a great way to attract readers. Storytelling is accepted as the best marketing. Not all stories are attractants. Like violet flowers attract bees, so are stories they have colors to attract certain readers. A boring story shall do the reverse and repel readers. Stories have the power to do this or that.
I have suggested different ways of writing stories and compiled most of them in an e-book. That stories have power brought the idea of using the battery as a metaphor for storytelling.
I find this metaphor interesting and I am sharing my views on why it is in this post. Batteries are electrochemical devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy or vice versa by means of controlled chemical reactions between a set of active chemicals. A story has the objective of capturing the readers’ attention by converting their sleepy attention into a charged one.
A story has three acts: the beginning, the climax in the middle act, and the resolution in the final one. The first act serves as a “wakening up” call to prepare the reader for what is coming. A story needs to start up like a battery that starts up a car.
The story must have its battery of enough power to get the story moving. The reader is still cold to the story and having a battery of enough strength is crucial.
Battery designers try to design out the possibility of abuse wherever possible but ultimately the life of the battery is in the user’s hands. The storyteller has it in his/her hands to design the story well. For example, batteries may suffer from premature death for many reasons. One reason is a severe drop in the voltage of the battery. The battery shall fail to deliver the required current. Same with storytellers who drop the tension of the story suddenly and they become unable to maintain the flow of the story. Overcharging and over-discharging the battery cause its premature death. Storytellers who overcharge the reader too soon kill the story and their hope that the readers would continue reading them.
The storyteller must keep the flow of the story and avoid acts that may block the story.
The flow of the story is like the flow of the current in a battery. The storyteller must ensure the flow of events in a way that makes sense and increasingly capture the interest of the reader. But then the protagonist (a human, a product, a brand, or whatever) shall face resistance from the antagonist. The storyteller must keep the flow of the story and avoid acts that may block the story. In a battery, the quality of the active chemicals may vary. This may affect the concentration of the chemicals or the level of impurities present and impede the flow of current. Active chemicals are the events in a story. The impurities are the side events that are not of value to the story. They harm much more than they serve. The power of a story is linked to how it “charges” the readers, and side events don’t serve. The leakage of the active chemicals lowers the power of the battery and likewise, the leakage of events reduces the suspense of the readers.
The active chemicals in the battery enhance their activity with increased temperatures. The hotter the battery, the faster chemical reactions will occur. But not all events of a story are desirable and they too may react faster and may overwhelm the main events. This shall only lead to the reduction of the battery life (story life) and the loss of the power of the story.
Moving from Act 2 to Act 3 in a story must be done wisely. It is the same in batteries wherein the closer it gets to being fully charged, the slower it must be charged. The climax in Act 2 must not overcharge the reader; else he/she shall be lost. We need to build suspense in stories, but not too much too soon.
Not all batteries are of the same genre. Not all stories are of the same genre. Know your story to know what battery to use. I find the battery a suitable metaphor for telling stories. Do you?