Pip Decks

Cut to the Chase

From Episode 11 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes

Each week we release a new story and two Storyteller Tactics cards from the deck, launching on Kickstarter later this year.

👉 Read Episode 11

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👉 See previous episodes.

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What is the Cut to the Chase story tactic?

Oh no, you're losing your audience! Their mind's are wandering. Quick, get their attention back on you.

"Thou shalt not be dull" is a golden rule of storytelling.  You know when you're losing people: they start to look restless or uncomfortable. (Let's be honest, it's annoying to listen to a boring story).

So it's time to quit the back-story and cut to the chase: give us action, emotion or meaning. 

Tips: this tactic works with face-to-face storytelling. But it applies to online stories too. Assume we get bored easily. How can you tweak our attention throughout your story?

How to use the Cut to the Chase tactic

This tactic works best once you've written a story, or have the basic outline. Use the Three Tees tool or a Story Arc to help if you're not there yet.

Think of this tactic like an emergency escape plan. If your story is going badly, bail out in one of these ways:

1. Cut to the action:

Take us to the moment that the story hinges on, especially if it's an abrupt change and/or a crisis.

  • "So, basically, what happened was..."
  • "Suddenly..."
  • "The worst moment was..."

2. Cut to the emotion:

Take us to a moment of maximum emotional impact, either positive or negative.

  • "I was amazed... shocked... surprised..."
  • "I was so disappointed... stressed..."
  • "We were so relieved... elated..."

3. Cut to the meaning:

Take us to the lesson you've learned, then rewind back to the moment that brought you the new information.

  • "That's when I realised..."
  • "I'd always thought..."
  • "I'll never forget..."

Alternatively, stop talking and ask your audience a question. Turn the situation from a "story download" to a two-way conversation. 

🤔 Confused? Enlightened?

Let us know! We are still developing Storyteller Tactics. Drop us an email with your feedback. We reply to every single one.

- Charles & Steve.

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