Exploring the Story Curve – How to Craft a Compelling Story (Part 2 – Crafting Conflicts)
Last week (click to read: “Exploring the Story Curve – How to Craft a Compelling Story (Part 1)”), we started the learning journey into unpacking the Story Curve for your child in crafting a powerful and compelling story. This technique applies to both written and verbal communication, as long as your child is trying to incorporate a story into his/her delivery. As a quick recap, the first part of the Story Curve focuses on building the Character component of your child’s story. This week, we will explore how you heighten the Conflict component of the same story!
By now, your child should have a compelling scene painted as part of the introduction to their story. The next step is to introduce the tension element that helps to draw the audience in and make your child’s story stand out. To achieve this, Part 2 of the Story Curve series will explore how your kid can build tension in their story effectively. We call this process “raising the stakes” to build interest in the story content. Join us in today’s article to explore Conflict Building!
Raise the Stakes – Build Your Conflict!
Building the Conflict is not just about adding a tense element or a problem in the story. The audience or reader is likely to appreciate a gradual and guided build-up before the Conflict reaches its Climax. Even for a straightforward writing assignment for your child, the ability to build the tension in their story is one that would set them apart from the countless examination scripts that their teachers may have to go through. It is that tension that would help your child craft a powerful and compelling story, in engaging the reader.
The first step in introducing a Conflict is to ensure that your reader is invested in your characters or the scene. Your child needs to set the scene well at the start and focus on the main characters involved in the Conflict. They can also build relevance into their story by highlighting universal experiences (i.e. experiences that most, if not all, of us, can appreciate and understand). One such example is a story about overcoming a setback or difficulty. At this general level, your child’s story will be relatable and appreciable.
The next step is to raise the stakes involved in the Conflict by sharing the difficulties the characters will face. Most of our young communicators feel the urge to gloss over the details of the Conflict – speeding through the content so that they can reach the resolution of their story early (and end their presentation early as well!). This is not a trait limited to children alone. Most of our adult learners also find discomfort in stretching out the tension portion of their speech. Instead, encourage your child to elaborate on the details that exemplify the Conflict journey their characters are facing. For example, if the story is about how the character overcome a setback, share insights into the character’s concerns, thoughts and troubles.
Finally, venture into the mental realm by exploring the story characters’ opinions, feelings or thought processes as they experience the tension. This encourages your child to move from physical details to relatable components such as emotions. The reader is more likely to be influenced by a character’s emotional growth than the description of the room he/she was in! When exploring this mental realm, encourage your child to place themselves in their characters’ shoes. This allows them to give a realistic elaboration of what their characters may be thinking about.
The Story Curve brings the reader on a roller-coaster journey. Specifically, this build-up through the Conflict component will ensure that the reader’s attention is secured and maintained until your child’s story hits the next high point – the Climax. Remind your child to have an open mindset when drafting the Conflict and to incorporate as many details as possible!
Next Up – The High Point!
Now that your child has their Characters (people, scene) and Conflict planned out, the next part is to design the high point of their story – the Climax! We hope that with the three tips above, your child’s Story Curve will start to carve its way into a compelling and powerful story. For the next article, we will run through the tips on how to heighten the high point of your child’s story, so do stay tuned!
Public Speaking Academy strives to help students with both types of communication:
For written communication:
English Tuition for Kids – Primary 5 & 6 (PSLE):
For verbal communication:
Public Speaking Course for Kids / Children: