Six Elements of Good Digital Storytelling

Learn the fundamentals to finding success with digital storytelling.

Take Six

While there are endless approaches to crafting stories, depending on purpose and audience, at least six elements are considered fundamental to this particular storytelling style.

Living Inside Your Story—The perspective of each story is told in first person using your own storytelling voice to narrate the tale. Rather than a detached telling that this happened and that happened, viewers experience you living inside this story.

Unfolding Lessons Learned—One of the most unique features of this specific digital storytelling style is the expectation that each story express a personal meaning or insight about how a particular event or situation touches you, your community, or humanity.

Developing Creative Tension—A good story creates intrigue or tension around a situation that is posed at the beginning of the story and resolved at the end, sometimes with an unexpected twist. The tension of an unresolved or curious situation engages and holds the viewer until reaching a memorable end.

Economizing the Story Told—A good story has a destination—a point to make—and seeks the shortest path to its destination. The art of shortening a story lies in preserving the essence of the tale—using the fewest words along with images and sound to make your point.

Showing Not Telling—Unlike traditional oral or written stories, images, sound, and music can be used to show a part of the context, create setting, give story information, and provide emotional meaning not provided by words. Both words and media need to reveal through details rather than named or simply stated.

Developing Craftsmanship—A good story incorporates technology in artful ways, dem-onstrating craftsmanship in communicating with images, sound, voice, color, white space, animations, design, transitions, and special effects. Ask yourself whether your media resources are decorating, illustrating, or illuminating.

Bernajean Porter

by Bernajean Porter

Bernajean Porter(@BernajeanPorter) is the author of DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean travels the world facilitating effective digital storytelling.

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