Petal Structure

The petal structure contains multiple individual stories, which share the same main point, but the stories do not build upon each other. The individual stories can be told and understood separately and can even contain different main characters. But by combining all the stories the message will become stronger. Sometimes an overall story is used to explain the main point. This storyline is often used in symposium settings, where several speakers share different stories about the same topic. Examples and anecdotes are often used within the petal structure too.

How to use the storyline?

  1. Describe the main point of your story for yourself.
  2. Gather and setup multiple stories which strengthen your main point.
  3. Start and finish one story before beginning the next one.
  4. Every story starts within the same context and ends with the same conclusion.

Example story

An example of this storyline is illustrated in the movie The Sisterhood of the traveling pants.

In this story we meet four teenage girls who, despite having very different body types, find one pair of jeans that fits them all perfectly. They decide these pants are lucky for them and that each will wear them for a time while they are away on their own adventures for the summer: they send it to each other, thus these being traveling pants. The viewer sees only those parts of the stories of these girls’ summers in which they wear the (magic) jeans. The jeans are in the center of the story and we visited four separate stories that each come back to the jeans at some point which ties it all together.

For which goals can you use this storyline?

  • Explain
  • Convince
  • Activate
  • Trust
  • Motivate

For what type of story is this a good storyline?

  • Formal presentation
  • Keynote talk
  • Pitching your idea
  • Teaching

For what kind of audience is this storyline well suited.

  • Difficult
  • Linear thinkers
  • High end
  • Practical
Fleur Elise Muller

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Other storylines