How many of your childhood bedtime stories started, “Once upon a time”?
Probably more than you can recall.
Whatever the unfolding plot was, you knew it would contain a beginning, a middle and an end, with ups and downs along the way.
Any mild peril that the story’s hero or heroine faced was always resolved; their journey through the treacherous jungle or to the top of the villain’s castle to defeat the enemy was done without a hair out of place. These tales from faraway lands were—unbeknown to your younger self—structured perfectly. The format always worked, and it never strayed off course.
The narrative was on point; it told you what the hero was doing, why they were doing it, where they had come from and where they were going. All neat and tidy.
Storytelling’s enduring power