How to Tell Your Story
Feb 01, 2019 - 6 min read
Welcome to 360 Stories! We are very glad that you have joined our team as a content contributor and storyteller. Storytelling is an art form. Even in the virtual world, style, content, and tone are utterly important. Everyone has some experience that is unique only to them. Think about it. Have you and a friend ever traveled somewhere on separate occasions and come back with totally different impressions? Maybe you visited a part of the city they didn’t, or they had different luck when it came to the weather or transportation.
Each person’s perspective is extremely valuable, because what might be important or interesting to your friend might be completely different than what interests you. Especially in the world of travel, nothing is one size fits all. That’s why your story is important, no matter how small or insignificant it might be. On our platform, you are the expert of your world. Before you sit down to write a story, take some time to explore the 360 Stories platform. Read as many published stories as you can, and use your favorites as models for your own work. There’s no need to copy the exact style, again we value your style for being yours alone.
Here are some do's and don'ts that should help you craft the most interesting stories for your listeners and readers:
Make it Unique
Find a perspective that no one has heard before. Tell your own story. Find the anecdotes, rare myths and legends that most interest you and share them with the world. Anyone can find out how tall the Eiffel Tower is, for example, but does everyone know about the best place to get burgers hidden in a backstreet corner cafe nearby?
Keep it Short
100-150 words becomes a minute of spoken text. This is an ideal amount of time to tell your story without losing your audience’s attention. We live in an age of information overload, so keep it short, simple, and most importantly, interesting!
Include Key Facts
When was it built? By whom? What decisive events took place here? Think like a journalist, does your story answer the main questions (who, what, when, where, why and how?)
Double-check Facts and Grammar
Although our reviewers will check every story, make sure any dates, historical facts and names are accurate before you click “post”.
Include Relevant Photos and Videos
As you're telling your story, look for accompanying media that illustrates the points you are trying to get across. This is also a great opportunity to show off your photography skills and let your photos really take the spotlight.
Use Your Voice
360 Stories is a community of storytellers. Try to weave descriptive stories that create a sense of place and use vivid imagery in an engaging manner to transport your listener to your city. Each member has their own unique voice. Find yours and let it shine!
You’re halfway to becoming one of our valued storytellers! Now that you have the idea of what you should be aiming for when writing stories for our community, take a look at some things you should try to avoid.
Copy and Paste
Our community relies on original storytelling, plagiarism is definitely not allowed. It’s not like you get a cookie for copying and pasting anyways. This is not an encyclopedia, the whole point is to show your version of the world around you.
It's easy to get carried away in the flow of writing poetic prose, extending sentences into flourishing fields of metaphors and allegoric fantasy; and in trying hard not to create a list of facts, instead writing the first few chapters of a semi-fictional novel about Medieval knights, tragedy and love. Or in order to extend a lack of facts, repeat the same idea, paraphrased in an attempt at sounding philosophically and historically knowledgeable with a panache for flair in style.
In other, less rambling, words: Find the most important details and tell them in an engaging and concise manner. If the topic is too large for this format, consider splitting your story into smaller chunks and telling them separately.
Anyone going to Barcelona recognizes Gaudi and would appreciate knowing if the building was designed by him. Your listener might not recognize your local 16th-century architect, however. Think of your listener and avoid crippling your story with forgettable names unless they are absolutely crucial to your tale.
Create a Timeline
The same applies to dates; there is no need to list every single time the building was renovated. Many cathedrals became what they are today thanks to 18th-century renovations, so you may consider pointing those out, but don't list every time the walls were repainted.
Submit Photos without Permission
When adding media to your story use your own photos or filter images online by their usage right or copyright status. Make sure you have permission to reuse these images.
Create Lists or be too Informal
Avoid overly academic language on the one hand and informal jargon on the other. Above all, refrain from using profanity. Think of your average listener, who could be from anywhere in the world, from 3 to 150 years old.
The 360 Stories platform has been designed to capture the experience of being in a place. Thus, when we write stories, we don’t want them to merely convey facts, but to augment 360 Stories’ visual content with unique details and descriptions that convey what it feels like to be in that space, the unknown secrets that make that experience special. Remember, this is not an encyclopedia of academic material but rather a visitor's personal guide to the city; feel free to let your voice ring through your writing.
If you are a foodie, talk about some of your favorite places to eat that is unique to that location. If you like hiking, let us know where the locals go for their ultimate hiking experience. You can write about any category you can think of: Architectural, Artistic, Cinematic, Culinary, Holiday, Pop Culture, Romance, you name it!
Picture it like this. You have friends coming visiting you from abroad and you wanted to give them a custom tour from a “living like a local” perspective, where would you take them? What would you do? What traditional dishes would you have them try out? What experiences would you want them to have so that they can live a day in your shoes?
Those are the kinds of experiences that encyclopedias and the world of the internet really can’t offer. Those are the things that you can bring to the platform for everyone to benefit from. Here’s an example of a great short yet informative story about the Astronomical Clock in Prague.
Everything from writing style to historical accuracy is important. The goal is to create content that is original, captivating and stylistically interesting. Should you have any questions, please feel free to send your inquiries to [email protected].
Thank you for joining the 360 Stories community! We look forward to working with you.