Narratology is the study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways that these affect human perception. Its theoretical lineage is traceable to Aristotle but in 1966 a special issue of the journal ‘Communications’ proved to be a catalyst for the most recent proliferation of this field of research.
Digital-media theorist and professor Janet Murray noticed a shift in narrative structure in the twentieth century and attributed it to scientific advancement. She outlines this in her 1998 book Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace.
Murray argues that modern narrative structures, such as the multi-narrative, more accurately reflect the new perceptions of time, process, and change in relation to the digital age rather than the traditional linear narrative.
The professor concludes that the unique properties of computers are better-suited for expressing these intersecting stories. When speaking in relation to the virtual world, these stories differ from traditional forms of storytelling in that they invite the reader into the experience through interactivity.
We all know a great story is mesmerising… and a great experience is unforgettable. This is what we provide our customers – the best of both worlds. I would however consider us good overall ‘experience creators’, and not just storytellers.
Since about 2017 there has been a stigma associated with the term storytelling which has spread throughout many marketing focused parts of the industry. Decoder Ring’s podcast – The Storytelling Craze is a detailed insight into this stigma.
When done well, stories seem effortless, but they are expertly crafted. I’ll be the first to admit, it takes skill and it is hard work. Aside from an interesting narrative, stories must have several other attributes such as being unassuming, approachable, authentic and fun just to name a few.
Storytelling isn’t just about provoking emotion or reaction – sometimes it’s about clearly depicting a vision or an aspiration. In our world, it’s taking a client’s brief, and then defining how we take them from complex to clarity through well crafted narrative and using interactive experiences and video content.