Tragedy and Redemption

From Episode 13 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.

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What is the Tragedy and Redemption story tactic?

How do you act when things go wrong? Start a blame war or accept responsibility and change how you work?  

We all have a personal modus operandi, built up over many years. Usually, it helps us get where we need to be. Sometimes, it causes us to mess up. It's easy to blame others, protect ourselves and refuse to change (Tragedy). It's much harder to accept responsibility and change the way we operate (Redemption).


How to use the Tragedy and Redemption tactic

1. Get as full a picture as you can of what went wrong.

  • Draw a timeline of what you were trying to achieve.
  • Add all the points at which you deviated from - or were knocked off - your original course.
  • Add key decisions that were made.
  • Add moments when new information became apparent.
  • Add moments of conflict.

2. Establish the key characters in this story.

  • Who are they?
  • What is each person's modus operandi? This could mean their working habits, communication style, attitude to information sharing, tolerance of ambiguity etc.

3. Play the story of the failed project as a Tragedy.

Take each character in the story and think:

  • How does their way of working help them achieve what they need?
  • How does the failure of the project show that they were right all along?

4. Now play the story as a Redemption. Take each character in the story and think:

  • How might their way of working have contributed to the failure of the project?
  • What might they need to change when they work on the next project?

5. Finally, ask yourself "who else needs to hear this story, so they don't repeat our mistakes?"


Read more: Will Storr, The Science of Storytelling

🤔 Confused? Enlightened?

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- Charles & Steve.