The Shape of Story: Telling (writing) Compelling Stories / Essays

My first step in creating any communications materials is to know my story – my angle.

I received a lot of images from events over the past few weeks, and I was expected to create newsletters and social media comms materials out of them. I kept asking myself “what is the story?”

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“The Shape of Story” refers to the structural elements and patterns commonly found in narratives, whether they are in literature, film, or any other form of storytelling.

Stories often follow certain archetypal shapes or templates that help engage audiences and convey the narrative effectively. One common way to represent the shape of a story is through a narrative arc, which typically includes the following key elements:

  1. Exposition: This is where the story begins, introducing the setting, characters, and the initial situation. The exposition sets the stage and provides background information.
  2. Inciting Incident: This is the event or catalyst that disrupts the status quo and sets the main conflict in motion. It’s the incident that gets the story rolling.
  3. Rising Action: In this phase, the story develops as characters face challenges, make decisions, and work towards resolving the conflict. Tension and suspense increase as the plot unfolds.
  4. Climax: The climax is the turning point of the story. It’s the moment of greatest tension and conflict, where the main character confronts the central problem and makes a critical decision or takes a significant action.
  5. Falling Action: Following the climax, the story enters the falling action phase. Loose ends are tied up, and the narrative starts to wind down as the consequences of the climax are addressed.
  6. Resolution: The resolution is where the story comes to a conclusion. It reveals the ultimate outcome of the conflict, and any remaining questions or conflicts are typically resolved.
  7. Denouement (or Conclusion): This is the final section of the story where the aftermath of the resolution is explored. It provides closure and may offer insights into the characters’ futures.

It’s important to note that not all stories follow this exact structure, and variations exist. Some stories may have multiple climaxes or subplots, and nonlinear narratives can deviate from the traditional narrative arc. Additionally, different cultures and genres may have unique storytelling conventions.

The concept of “The Shape of Story” is a valuable tool for writers and storytellers because it helps them understand the pacing, progression, and emotional impact of their narratives. By recognizing and manipulating these elements, you as a storyteller can engage your audience more effectively and create compelling, memorable stories.

I hope you think of the shape of story the next time you are creating your communications materials, writing your essays, or taking job interviews.

All my love,


Previously: The Young Professional Network

On Thursday night, the 12th of October, 2023, I joined The Young Professional UK network, at the Ned Nomad in New York. The conversation was on โ€œ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด: ๐˜„๐—ต๐˜† ๐˜€๐—ผ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ.โ€

We had a chat about finding fulfillment in our careers as young professionals.

This was a pretty candid chat on our personal career journey that led us to where we are now, how we cultivate fulfillment – creating a fulfilling career; some tips on taking risk – where we’ve taken risks in our careers and how we weigh up risk vs reward; entrepreneurship – tips for starting your own business; building a personal brand – why and how; and most importantly – the Importance of relationships. Definitely one of the best conversations I have had, and what a brilliant community.


I recently purchased the $499 Sony ZV-1F camera to replace my main vlogging camera.

The Sony ZV-1F is a compact vlogging camera with a Type 1 (13.2×8.8mm) sensor and a fixed 20mm equivalent lens. This is a camera clearly aimed at vloggers, and features a three-capsule mic and fully articulating screen for facing-the-camera video creation.

Watch my full review of this camera here.

Up Next: Creating a Great CV

I have come to learn that though for different purposes, several tips apply for both academic and professional CVs. I have spent my year trying to learn as much as I can about professional development, both for personal but also entrepreneurial reasons. Personally, I am pivoting my career and see myself wanting to gain some experience in the private sector.

In this post, I share some tips for writing a compelling CV that is nearly guaranteed to get you hired/selected (if you have the required experience, and are a match for the role).

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Things to do this Fall: Tea Dates!

Fall, and all the other seasons, are still new to me. This being my second fall experience, I am reminded that we have come so far in the year, and I hope we are all making some time for rest.

Happy fall! ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ Embrace the cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and beautiful foliage that this season brings. May your days be filled with the crisp, refreshing air and the joy of pumpkin spice everything. Enjoy the season to the fullest! ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŒป


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