Pip Decks


Downfall Story Arc

From Episode 1 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes

Each week we release an episode containing two tactics from the up and coming Storyteller Tactics card deck.

Each episode shows you how our characters use the power of story to overcome challenges (and how they also help us write their narratives!)

👉 Read Episode 1

👉 See all episodes

👉 See previous episodes.

👉 See the tactic cards released so far

What is The Downfall Story Arc?

Macbeth, Harvey Weinstein and Nokia: they all had a hidden flaw that brought them down.

How the mighty have fallen! We love a good Downfall story almost as much as Rags to Riches. This is partly Schadenfreude - taking joy in another's misfortune. But Downfall stories are also instructive: "let's not make the same mistake they did!"

ℹ️ Remember: story is everywhere.

When you tell stories, people pay attention, and most importantly - stories are never forgotten. 

The opportunities for using Storyteller Tactics in your work are endless. From emails, pitches, job interviews, or show and tells. 

There's no right or wrong way to use them. Experiment and play. You'll find what works best for you.

How to use the Downfall Story Arc

You can use a Downfall story in two ways:

  1. Defend: you are the "mighty" one, you're trying to hold onto your position.
  2. Exploit: you are the upstart, you want to take customers from a big rival. 

Either way, the beats of the story are the same.

  1. Flawed power: with Macbeth it was ambition, Weinstein - vile abuse, Nokia - complacency. There's always a flaw, it is always selfish and hidden.
  2. Desperate denial: flaws begin to show, but the tragic hero covers up and doubles-down, rather than change.
  3. Deserved disgrace: flaws are fully exposed, the tragic hero comes crashing down, to everyone else's relief.

Defend Against Downfall:

  • Be honest, what are your flaws and weaknesses?
  • How might they be exposed?
  • What can you learn from criticism?
  • How might you change?
  • If you do come crashing down, what benefits might there be to others? What lessons have you learned for the future?
  • (Try the Treasure in the Dark tactic for an alternative take on this story)

Exploit Another's Downfall:

  • What are your rival's flaws? (eg; bad customer service, selfish corporate values)
  • How can you expose them?
  • How can you show your target customers that they deserve better?
  • How can you show your values in a positive light by comparison?
  • How is the world a better place without your rival?

🤔 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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