Creating a Story Map Template
Story maps are invaluable tools for visualizing and organizing narratives, whether you’re working on a novel, screenplay, marketing strategy, or any other creative endeavor. Having a well-structured story map template can streamline the process and enhance your storytelling capabilities. In this article, we’ll guide you through creating a versatile story map template that can adapt to various projects.
1. The Basics
A story map template should include fundamental elements to help you outline your story effectively. Here’s a basic structure to get you started:
- Title and Author: Begin with the title of your project and your name as the author.
- Plot Overview: Summarize the central plot in a few sentences. This provides a quick snapshot of the story’s core.
- Setting: Describe the world or environment where your story unfolds. Include details about time, place, and atmosphere.
- Main Characters: List the key characters with brief descriptions of their roles, characteristics, and arcs.
- Themes: Identify the main themes and motifs you plan to explore in your story.
- Act Structure: Divide your story into acts and outline the major plot points or events in each act. This is particularly useful for screenplays and stage plays.
2. Additional Elements
Depending on your project’s specific requirements, you can customize your story map template by adding these optional sections:
- Subplots: If your story involves subplots, create sections for each, summarizing their relevance and development.
- Scenes or Chapters: If you’re working on a detailed project, create space to outline individual scenes or chapters. Include descriptions of the scene’s purpose and how it advances the story.
- Character Development: Dedicate a section to the growth and changes of each character throughout the story.
- Visual Aids: Incorporate visual elements like images, sketches, or diagrams to enhance your understanding of settings, characters, or key scenes.
- Dialogue or Key Quotes: Include spaces to jot down important dialogue or memorable quotes that you plan to incorporate.
3. Digital or Physical?
You can create your story map template either digitally or on paper, depending on your preference. Digital templates can be easily updated, shared, and stored electronically, while physical templates offer a tangible, tactile experience.
The beauty of a story map template is its adaptability. You can adjust and expand it to suit your project’s unique needs. If you’re writing a novel, you might want to include more detailed sections for each chapter. For marketing campaigns, you can adapt the template to focus on target audience profiles, messaging, and distribution channels.
The goal of a story map template is to serve as a flexible and functional tool to help you stay organized and focused as you embark on your creative journey. So, don’t hesitate to tweak it to best suit your creative process. Whether you’re crafting a thrilling novel or planning a captivating marketing campaign, a well-structured story map template can be your guiding companion.
6 Story Map Examples
Story map examples are powerful tools that can help you organize your thoughts and ideas, ultimately guiding you through the storytelling process. It provides a bird’s-eye view of your story, making it easier to identify gaps, inconsistencies, and opportunities for improvement. They are not limited to any one medium or purpose – they can be used for novels, screenplays, presentations, and even business strategies. Let’s dive into some examples to see how diverse and valuable story mapping can be.
- The Hero’s Journey
One of the most well-known story map examples is Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.” This narrative structure, used in countless books and films, provides a blueprint for a hero’s transformational journey. It typically follows a pattern involving a call to adventure, trials, mentorship, and a triumphant return. The hero’s journey has been used in classics like “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” and “The Lion King.” This story map example shows how a universal structure can underlie vastly different stories.
- The Three-Act Structure
Popular in screenwriting, the three-act structure divides a story into three main sections: setup, confrontation, and resolution. Each act has its own distinct purpose and often corresponds with a specific turning point in the story. A classic example of this structure can be found in George Lucas’s “Star Wars.” The first act introduces the characters and the world, the second act involves rising conflicts and challenges, and the third act leads to a climactic resolution. This simple yet effective structure helps maintain the pacing and tension of a story.
- Mind Maps for Complex Novels
Novels often involve intricate plots, numerous characters, and multiple storylines. To keep everything organized, many authors turn to mind maps. Mind maps are a type of story map that visually represents connections between different story elements. For example, J.K. Rowling famously used a mind map to plan out the seven-book “Harry Potter” series. The mind map was a labyrinth of interconnected ideas that allowed her to maintain consistency throughout the series.
- Marketing Campaigns
Story maps aren’t just for storytelling in the traditional sense; they can also be applied to marketing. Consider envisioning a scenario where you are strategizing a marketing campaign for a fresh product. Your story map could include the target audience, key messages, content creation, and distribution channels. This helps align your team and ensures everyone is on the same page when executing the campaign.
- Educational Presentations
For educators, story maps are a valuable tool for structuring lessons and presentations. By following a story map, teachers can ensure that their lessons have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Furthermore, this approach helps in breaking down complex topics into digestible chunks, making it easier for students to understand and retain the information.
- Business Strategies
In the world of business, strategies, and plans are often complex and multifaceted. A business story map can help leaders and teams create a cohesive strategy that aligns everyone’s efforts toward a common goal. This could include elements like market analysis, target audiences, goals, and tactics.
Learn more: What is Story Mapping?
The Power of Visualization
Story maps provide a powerful means of visualization. They transform abstract ideas into concrete, organized plans. This not only helps in the creative process but also in fostering effective communication within teams, making sure everyone is on the same page.
Whether you’re writing the next great novel, planning an engaging marketing campaign, or strategizing for your business, story map examples can be your guiding light. They help you maintain focus, improve narrative coherence, and ensure that your audience or team stays engaged.
As you explore the world of story mapping, remember that there are no hard and fast rules. Your story map should adapt to your unique needs and style. The goal is to find the map that best guides you on your creative journey. So, pick up your pen, open your mind, and start mapping out your next adventure – it may just be the best story you’ve ever told.