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When the Panchatantra tales or Brothers Grimm fairy tales were written, the writers perhaps did not realize the nostalgia, and childhood sense of fulfillment they would evoke in adults and children a centuries ahead. Fairytales with all their quirks and issues brought forward by modernists and Shreks, still remain stories that we remember. The art of storytelling is the power of its capture, the reach and the recall. Much like we would like brand stories and life narratives to be, ideally. Here are some ideas we can learn from fairytales to use in our own writing and storytelling.


BE A STORYTELLER

Katha storytelling for kids


 

The Art Of Storytelling – Converting Fairytales To Brand Stories And Narratives

This post was originally written by Vanhishikha Bhargava in 2015 for Brandanew and was reproduced for Peerbagh in 2023. Some of the tips originally appeared in a Medium article here.

The art of storytelling - converting fairytales to your brand stories and narrative

Great stories have a hook. As a writer, leader or storyteller trying to capture the imagination of the user, all you need is a hook, and then the need to put the reader at the center of the plot. Make them belong. And build the storytelling arch, the drama to finally give them an ending that satisfies them.

Why do fairytales and myths matter?

For children or adults who are leaning into writing or reading, fairytales and myths open up a new world.

  • Spark imagination and offer moral lessons: Children or adults are 22x more likely to remember a fact wrapped in a story. When we are invested in a story, we often learn from its flawed characters, and improve critical thinking skills. These tales can often model behavior for children to evaluate their own actions. We can all imagine our own difficulties through well-crafted characters and settings, helping us validate our own feelings and experiences.
  • Showcase diverse cultures: If you’re a parent raising kids away from your heritage culture, as a minority, these stories (when chosen with care) will expose children to new worlds and they learn about things without needing to physically travel. It’s engaging and immersive and doesn’t feel preachy. This is equally true of adults.
  • Building reader curiosity: If the stories work, it automatically generates interest in more.

Retaining The Art of Storytelling: What You Must Not Do

1. Don’t be Cruella — just quit the show off!

No one wants to hear your self-praise over and over again. Don’t keep talking about yourself and avoid overexplaining- instead let the story do the talking, organically. Keep the reader or audience at the center.

2. Don’t run on Cinderella’s time — make it last!

Even if you are a big deal, do not disappear. Consistency is key to building recall. Raise the stakes. Tell us why it matters.

3. Don’t be a bore — what if the shoe never got lost?

Create some drama. The reader or your audience likes being exposed to an adventure. Do not only share just neutrality. Bring action, an arc, and show us the conflict.

4. Don’t go haywire — stick to a theme!

No one wants a Star Wars & Barbie hybrid! Stick to your niche and set expectations. You can’t be posting about fairy tale weddings, when you’re actually trying to make stories for adventure gear. And if you feel confident to create this never-seen-before mash up, allow the readers a third rail. Show them why before you go off the rails.

5. Don’t add to their grief — make it a satisfying ending!

We like happy. But it’s also ok to challenge our world view. An involved audience or reader at the end of your story, wants to leave with emotions, a good thought or memory. Work hard on creating that. Sometimes it helps to think about the goal first and then think about the how.

6. Don’t make the ending a definite one — keep them wanting more!

The only way to ensure that your audience or reader keeps coming back for more stories from you is by ending your first one on a happy note that not just nudges them that leaves them with something to think about. Human minds are always intrigued by what’s happening around them and why- make sure you make the most out of that. Think of series of films and stories we are ready to devour. Imagine a bigger world!


So, the next time you decide to build a new story, think about these tips!

As always, we also want to highlight some modern desi storytellers who have created beautiful imaginary worlds and continue to inspire readers.

  • Adult fiction: Go ahead and read Aparna Verma’s newly launched fantasy book, The Phoenix King. She spoke about the power of stories on Kitabi Qisse here.
  • Young Adult Fiction: Leila Siddiqui’s, House of Glass Hearts is very high on our reading list. Find info here.
  • Middle Grade Fiction: Find Karuna Riazi’s, A bit of Earth. She spoke about retelling stories here.
  • Children’s picture book: Find Suma Subramaniam’s book, The Runaway Dosa. She spoke about stories and her craft here.

What are some tools you use when crafting stories? Are there any books we should be adding to our list for inspiration? Share your responses with us!

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Peerbagh is an independent 501 c3 non-profit registered in the city of Austin, Texas. We work with a mission to build storytellers and diversify bookshelves.