Storytelling in the Modern Age

Updated: May 6, 2021

By Chloe Olivia Sladden

The written word has been around for thousands of years, a single phrase could persuade, inspire or connect, all kinds of people on a global scale.

Storytelling may exist in a modern age in many ways, from journalism to YA novels and digital platforms such as Wattpad. It is considered an art form or history on the run, rather than merely just for entertainment purposes.

This may begin with the return of the importance of Storytelling in journalism. Journalism has become increasingly important and influential as both guides and stories as to what is going on in the world around us. It can help bring truths, reality and narratives to the public who may otherwise live in the dark.

Storytelling appears to be the answer, especially when it is more important than ever for the public interest, to be in the know; as knowledge and thought can be very powerful if the article has the desired structure and effect.

Caroline Scott’s article, includes Scott Rensberger’s advice on journalistic storytelling, comments on the structure/effect these stories should have in how: “Every great story has to either affect your mind, heart or wallet”.

While Julie Ogden’s Drum Network article, on the value of journalistic storytelling, continues on Scott’s advice: “Storytelling has been an integral part of human life since time began, from sharing stories around the campfire, recording them in drawings on cave walls and writing them down on parchment and then paper. Now in the digital world, storytelling has the tools to evolve even further”.

The possibilities and advantages that storytelling can give to journalism (like what Julie Ogden describes) mean it can continue to grow. This may also allow journalism to serve its purpose and give the freedom to report the news in more ways than before, as the facts and truth can have different effects depending on how the journalist tells the story.

The freedom of the press and freedom of information allows for a whole variety of journalistic stories that could serve any purpose or have any effect.

Another storytelling format can be found in YA or young adult novels, where protagonists’ especially female heroines use tragedy, comedy, sci-fi or fantasy to explore aspects of life that young adults can easily relate too. This is part of the reason where YA novels have become an increasingly popular genre, that appeals to and can relate to those older than 18.

Balance Career’s Young Adult and New Adult Book Markets article suggests, the number of YA novels has increased in number as seen by the: “10,000 Ya books that came out in 2012 versus about 4,700 in 2002” and the article adds that: “By some market estimates, nearly 70% of all YA titles are purchased by adults between the ages of 18 and 64”.

Also in Virginia MacGregor’s Signature Reads article, she comments on how: “YA stories tackle, often fearlessly and with incredible imagination, some of the most important issues facing young people today.”

It has become the norm for YA novels to explore complex feelings, people or events and those that people may think means they are “strange” are more commonplace than they think.

The young adult genre allows for people to continue/gain a love of reading as they can still relate to it, as some things change for the better and some things stay the same, which is ok and so people can find understanding of themselves in it.

Virginia MacGregor’s article also suggests this could be found “In the form of stories: rich, powerful stories that entertain and amuse us, which are not afraid to go to dark places, which make us laugh and cry and dream. Fiction, like art and music, holds magic – and it goes deep.”

Therefore, it seems like reading may not be a useless or forgotten method of storytelling, after all.

Digital storytelling is on the rise with the expansion of unofficial publishing apps like Wattpad. Wattpad founded 2006, is an international reading and creative writing app that allows you to unofficially publish your own stories, and is based in Toronto, Canada. It is suggested to have over 65 million readers/writers who are reading and writing in over 50 languages.

Wattpad’s famous slogan “stories you’ll love” suggests people still long to read good stories, about anything and everything, that can stay with them forever.

On the Wattpad About page, their motto is put as: “Whatever you’re into, there is something you’ll love on Wattpad. And if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you have the power to create it yourself”. It goes on to say how “Wattpad stories transcend borders, interests and language”.

There have been a number of stories, racking up thousands and millions of reads and even actual book publishing or TV deals. Some of my personal Wattpad favourites have included: Pumpkin Patch Princess by Julie C. Dao, We survivors by ljthomas and The Dragon’s Heir by Isabella Espe. Wattpad users like myself, are able to write, edit and publish stories and vote, read and create lists, follow or comment on other stories too.

A profile on Wattpad, whether someone is a reader, writer or both, grants the opportunities to read or put stories out there in a safe welcoming and online community based on whatever you are interested in or want to read/gain from it.

Wattpad’s About page goes on to say: “You can discover things that speak to you, or chose to create them from scratch. It’s the freedom to express yourself with an authentic voice, and the knowledge that you will be heard”.

The above reflects on how Wattpad grants opportunities, based on your interests as it leaves you free to discover stories and express yourself with your own stories in whatever way suits you.

Overall, it can be said that storytelling in the modern age can only continue to be enjoyed and evolve from here, as the written word has many more possibilities in stories than people may think.

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