Elements of Gamifitainment: Storytelling 


Storytelling, it’s an art within itself. Great stories have the ability to capture an audience and have them begging for more after the story is over. Boring stories or stories that make no sense are sure-fire ways lose someone’s attention. The key is to build interest and suspense. But don’t take my word for it. Anyone familiar with the Golden Girls know that there were two storytellers in the show. Ma’ with her infamous “Picture it” precursor and Rose with her abstract Saint Olaf stories. Check out the clip below for a better idea of how confusing stories (and people with a history of telling them) can lose an audience, sometimes even before the story gets started.

Don’t be a Rose. 😉

The classic structure of storytelling includes: the background, rising action, the climax, falling action and the resolution. This format of storytelling is popular when telling stories via plays and film.

The Structure

Background. Provides the audience with important information such as location, setting, history of characters, past events, etc. This information is commonly told in creative ways such as flashbacks, conversations, by a narrator, or fictional media within the story.

Rising Action. Is all of the things that happen between the Background and the Climax. These series of events gradually build upon each other as the story moves closer towards the Climax. Typically, these events are the most important, the reason being is that the purpose of the story depends on these actions and they set up the Climax.

Climax. The turning point or often referred to as the crisis. This is when a story changes from good to bad or vice-versa. It is the main action sequence and the beginning of the solution.

Falling Action. Is when the conflict comes apart. The main character is either losing or winning against his nemesis at this point of the story.

Resolution. This is where the plot is resolved. It is the end of the story. Here everything goes back to normal (more or less depending on the story).

The Elements

Characters. These are the people, animals, or creatures that will be featured in the story.

Setting. This is where the story takes place.

Plot. Also referred to as the storyline, or the main story. It is a sequence of events that happens in a story from beginning to end.

Theme. The theme tells what the story explores, this could be love, friendship, trust, freedom, etc. Themes are used over and over in storytelling and are rarely original.


Premise. Provides a general description of what the story is about. It is very briefly, typically told in one sentence. Unlike the theme the premise is usually an original idea.

Crucible. This element tells why particular characters are faced with a certain problem in the story.

Emotions. Emotions make the story real and helps the audience connect with the material. Love, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, etc. are all things that people experience in real life and are great elements for adding dimension to your story.

Protagonist. The main character and the person who is on a journey.

Antagonist. The person who is trying to stop the protagonist.

Problem. The issue that the character(s) has. The main conflict that must be resolved.

Solution. The action sequences that will resolve the problem.

Those are the Storytelling Elements of Gamifitainment. Not all of these elements will be used in all works, you should try to include as many as possible to ensure that you have a memorable story for your content. Make your story so great that learners will want additional learning material in order to hear more of the story.

Additional Resources

Storytelling Periodic Table: http://jamesharris.design/periodic/

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