Matt Landau
  • Founder, VRMB

The Benefit of Finding Contrasts in Your Story

Most great stories have contrasts: people/characters, opinions, places, emotions, really anything that is different from something else in juxtaposition or close association. Contrasts move the story along, add flavor, and yes! When you use contrasts, people are doubly likely to resonate with your story!

Stories without contrasts lack texture and feel just kinda beige.

When you're in the process of formulating a story about pretty much anything, a great exercise is to identify "what you're telling a story about" (ex. a property, a company, a destination) and to brainstorm all the contrasts in that world.

Let's say I wanted to tell a story about what Limited Edition means to me.

I used a free app called Miro (great recommendation Will Franco Will Franco) > sketched out three worlds of contrasts > and connected each of the contrasts with a red dotted line.

Chart 1. Who are the characters in the [Limited Edition] world?
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Chart 2. What is [Limited Edition] versus what is NOT?
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Chart 3: What do characters in the [Limited Edition] world want/need vs fear/avoid
Screen Shot 2022-12-25 at 10.11.17 AM.JPEG

You can make a free board on Miro (or just on paper) and connect the contrasts with a red dotted line (or any color line! Dotted or not!)

The more lines (the more contrasts) the better!

This thought process forces me to step out of my head and realize that even though I am obsessed, there are opposing views on [Limited Edition] which may inform how I may want to tell the story.

And yep, the bigger and more striking the contrasts, the better.

When you play around enough with these boards some interesting patterns may emerge. Notice how in Chart 3 many lines lead back to "Change" -- could this be a theme of the story? Notice in making Chart 2 I could easier distill the contrasts into a few words...are those forces at odds? Is it interesting?

I would encourage anyone who wants to tell the story about something they're passionate about use this contrasts exercise in order to peel back layers and reveal what a bigger story may actually be about.

Who wants to share contrasts that could make their story more compelling? 🤓
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