A story world is where a story goes on a road trip.
Creating a story-world means the story becomes a non-linear, non-sequential world around the details of a story (line). But the story world doesn’t only mean ‘more story’, it also means the same story told over various media. The spread of a story to a story world allows for more touch points and points of entry into the story (world) for the audience; or participant, as audience today are often immersed and a participant in the story world.
Story worlds replace a story line or plot line – no more “line” if you’ve ever listened to a millennial or younger tell you a story. As the famous quote by Jean-Luc Godard goes: “every story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, just not necessarily in that order.” To that we now add spherical globe, et voila – as Godard surely would have said – a story world.
I see story worlds done and very well so, at corporate meetings. Meetings have always been trans-media story worlds before those where the words du jour. The meetings encompass the corporate culture, the branding and messaging, and they bring their employees into the fold as participants in the company’s story world. Well-done meetings can take a sales force of thousands and galvanize and engage them on a strong emotional level, to counter attrition and raise sales, i.e. profits.
Much like a blockbuster film can create fans and super-fans by engaging them and allowing them to immerse themselves into the films’ story world, a global corporation does it by allowing employees to become players within their story world and by giving them the power (real or not) to develop and move that story world forward.