By Advait, Speech and Drama Director, Jasudben ML School, Mumbai
Stories give us the power to evoke strong emotions. The power of good storytelling is that it often compels people to take action for reasons bigger than they otherwise would have felt. An effective storyteller can weave context, details, characters and events into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Through emotions, one can also add that ‘human’ touch to their story, making it more believable and relatable. Ultimately, this can help storytellers make their narrative stand out as weaving a tale often helps in retaining information as well. The art of storytelling is an age-old, time-test method to capture your audience’s minds, and adding emotions to your story takes it a notch higher. Here are five ways in which you can infuse emotions into a story that you are narrating:
Re-read the story
One of the basic, most effective ways to critique the story to understand if one has been wholly able to capture emotion is by reading it absolutely thoroughly. Even if you have written the story, it’s imperative that you re-read it in detail, understand if it is lacking anything and make the necessary edits. We often tend to write things in a hurry, and in the process, lose out on the emotional touch that the story needs.
Understand the meaning and the subtext behind your story
Another aspect crucial to storytelling is to understand the true meaning behind the story. Once you get a clear picture of the story you’re trying to communicate, go back and map out all the moments and places which require a change of emotions. Once you comprehend the context, it becomes easier to understand what emotion needs to be modified where and can help you make the narrative crisper.
Overall voice modulation
Voice modulation is key! Your voice has the power to draw the audience in. Sometimes a hushed voice makes the listeners focus harder. Sometimes a loud voice is needed to draw more attention. Be it a story conveyed through writing or even a video format, it’s important to understand what the required action is for a particular character to best exhibit emotion. For example, one does not necessarily have to scream when a character is screaming during the story, the narrator or even the character could just look angry and speak a little louder than the narrator/character’s natural voice.
Embody the character
Bring out the actor in you and use it to elevate the storytelling. At times, getting under the skin of the role is important to make it relatable and get the audience to truly believe what the character is communicating. Popularly recognized as method acting, many actors use this form to be able to emotionally engage the audience with their characters. An effective storyteller needs to be able to quickly switch in and out of characters multiple times during a story.
Timing is everything
Timing is everything in story telling; be it moments of levity or gravity, whatever the script requires. In strong, emotional scenes, pausing at the right moment, looking directly at or addressing the audience at a pivotal juncture, can all help strike the right chord with the audience. On the other hand, comic timing through sharp or witty dialogues is a great way to be able to capture your audience’s attention and ensure it remains consistent. Sometimes, changing the mood setting or the tone of the story at the right moment can make a world of a difference and lead you to success.
Ultimately, it is important for any budding storyteller to make sure that they’re able to creatively use emotions in their narrative to captivate their audiences, evoke strong emotions in them, and truly make a lasting impact through the art of story telling