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Monday, August 13, 2012

Lessons in Storytelling—Doing Backstory Right


I’m super bummed the Olympics are over. I think I enjoyed them more than I ever have.

I had a “writerly” thought as I watched. One of my favorite things about the Olympics is the personal stories of the athletes. And I noticed that the media was very smart about how they told these stories. I realized this is the key to doing backstory right.


The first step I noticed is they give us a dramatic situation. What is more dramatic then the Olympics? Not much :) We are immediately hooked into the drama of who will win and who will lose.

Then they give us the backstory. At this point we care because we already want them to win.  And after the backstory we really want them to win.

So easy formula. Make us care about the character first, then give us the backstory! I know this is story tellin 101, but it is still a nice reminder.

Lay it on me…what did you learn from the Olympics?

-Angie




11 comments:

Brinda said...

I've learned that men everywhere love women's volleyball. Just kidding... Great point on the backstory. They do this on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars as well.

Kyra Lennon said...

Great points! Some of the athletes had amazing stories to tell.

I learned that David Boudia is one of the hottest divers in the world and he might become my new muse LOL! :D

Meredith said...

Such a good lesson! I loved all the backstory they gave on the athletes--so many touching stories.

Kim said...

What did I learn from the Olympics? I learned I should SHARE my backstory. I'm normally a very private person, and never shared my backstory even when I was an athlete (jr. Olympic volleyball), so to share my backstory now is a rather painful experience. But, apparently, it'll help people root for me and support me, so I grudgingly do it! :-)

J. A. Bennett said...

What a great lesson to take. I'll will for sure think of this when I start a new story :)

Melissa Sarno said...

Great analysis Angie :) I learned that, like Dick Clark, Bob Costas does not age.

ilima said...

What a great Olympic tie-in. And so true!

Samantha said...

What a great lesson! I learned that my new goal in life is to become an reporter for men's swimming...my goodness they are some good looking young men :D

Jenny Morris said...

I loved all the stories too. And I really liked how they showed the backstory! It made the journey so much more real.

Kelley Lynn said...

The stories are super fantastic. And you're right. First we have to care, then make us care even more :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I didn't watch the Olympics, but one thing I learned is how important it is to spend a lot of time on my work. The athletes devote the majority of their lives to their sports, and it's because of their efforts that they got that far. They were consistent in their efforts and didn't make excuses, and I want to follow their example. (If only I could run or swim as fast as they can, too.)

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