The good introduction for a story

The good introduction for a story

Mathias Mølgaard
Mathias Mølgaard
December 12, 2023

Every story should contain an introduction that captures the audience and situates the narrative. A good introduction is based on the location and actively guides the user's gaze towards elements in the surroundings. Therefore, it is important that we as Creators know the tour's environment – so go out and look!

Base the Story on the Location

There should be a reason to ask users to go out into the city and listen to stories. It would have been easier if they could do it from home. Therefore, it is important that we incorporate the surroundings and actively use them to convey our stories. Each story should therefore be based precisely on where the user stands. Look at this excerpt from a StoryHunt in Zealand, "Folkets Kvinde":

Welcome to Hillerød Square. The statue here on the square depicts King Frederik VII and was erected in 1880. [...] Frederik VII often came here to the Square to feel the spirit of Hillerød and meet the people of the town.

In the above example, we introduce the user to their surroundings and direct their attention to something specific in their environment; we guide their gaze.

Actively Guide the User's Gaze

When the user unlocks a story, we don't know where they are looking or what they are paying attention to. Therefore, we must remember to guide the user's gaze at the beginning of each story.

During the narrative, it is also important to continually incorporate the surroundings and refer to clear objects, so it becomes a sensory experience. In this way, we know that the user is looking at the things being talked about and does not get confused. Use phrases like “look at” and “notice” to highlight specific characteristics in the surroundings that are relevant to the story. In a StoryHunt called "The Soldier," you can see how we actively guide the user's gaze and ask them to look in a direction and then at a specific thing:

Welcome to the heights of the Citadel’s ramparts. Look towards the heart of the Citadel and find with your gaze the nearest red building with the three windows in the gable.

When referring to things in the surroundings, remember not to use landmarks that may be temporary. Only use things that you expect will be there for many years to come.

Get out there!

When we need to take the starting point from the location and guide the user's gaze, it is important that we know the area well. Therefore, it's a good idea to start by getting to know the area before you create your tour. The best way to do this is by going out and looking around. By being there yourself, you get a good sense of where it's natural to move and what one intuitively wants to look at.

Now that you have a grip on the good introduction, the next step is to create a good story. Read our advice on how to create a good story.