What’s the story?

“It’s all about controlling the narrative,” said TheCreep today.

“Ah, I see it must be mini-pupil season,” said TheVamp, “and once more TheCreep has his only captive audience of the year.”

TheCreep ignored her. “You’re either a leader or a follower. That’s the only distinction…”

BusyBody smirked at the irony of TheCreep, of all people, giving this advice.

“…and barristers above all, must be leaders,” he continued. “Take control of the story or you die.”

TheCreep was already failing to take control of this particular narrative since even the mini-pupils could tell that TheCreep was no-one’s leader. But before they could cause any trouble, TheBusker took pity and helped him out. “It’s true what he says. Everything’s about telling stories. Who’s the goodie and who’s the baddie depends upon the way you tell it.”

“So, what, you’re spin doctors for your clients?” asked one of the mini-pupils.
“Exactly that,” said TheBusker. “Spin doctors who have to win over a judge or jury.”

Now the mini-pupils were interested. “So how do you go about spinning?”

“Well, if you’re going to tell a story, the first rule is that your hero has to be likeable. Succeed in that and the listeners will be quite prepared to suspend their belief when it comes to the details.”

“Which is just where TheCreep always falls down,” said BusyBody.

“But how do you make a villain likeable?” persisted the mini-pupil.

“That’s the easiest part. Just tell the truth. Make him as human and fallible as all the listeners and preferably a little more fallible. Admit his weaknesses, before you whisper his strengths and then you’re ready for the next step.”

“Which is?”

“To make sure you have a clear narrative arc. Beginning middle and end and a journey for each of your main characters. Tell it simply and clearly and with the full force of your personality and you’ll win.”

“But what if your opponent does just the same thing?”

“That’s what you always hope,” said TheBusker. “Because that means the game is very much on. But remember this: there’s only one story which is ever believeable and that’s the one you’ve got to tell. Get it right and as I said, victory is yours.”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

August 9, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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