Friday Mission Impossible: tell a complete story without words

By in Uncategorized | 2 comments

2 Flares 2 Flares ×
Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978). The Young Lady with a Shiner 1953.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978). The Young Lady with a Shiner 1953.


Which wins the storytelling battle – words or pictures?

Sometimes words create a mind-picture so complete that adding an actual image doesn’t make the story any more vivid.

While a picture (often in a heartbeat) conveys unspoken subtleties that may otherwise be missed.

But can you tell a complete story without words?

Well first, what is a story

It’s actually easier to say what a story isn’t. It isn’t what happens: be it dramatic, watchable or chronological.

“Stories are about how we, rather than the world around us, change. They grab us only when they allow us to experience how it would feel to navigate the plot.”

~ Wired For Story, Lisa Cron

So a story is an internal journey, not an external one.

Now going back to my Friday challenge – can a complete story be told without words?


But it was a tough one to prove.

The exceptions to the rule are Norman Rockwell’s pictures.

Each of his paintings undoubtedly have a timeless storytelling quality and tells a complete story.

The characters, setting and the plot are all there – in an instant.

They depict life as he wanted to see it lived – be it true or not.

As a master of emotion and entertainment, each of Rockwell’s paintings has its own story baked into it – often speaking to different people in different ways, with new details (or chapters) of the story emerging each time you look.

He captured and captivated all generations with the facial expressions, situations, action, drama and amazement he depicted.

A complete story all rolled into one – without a single word.


Have I answered the challenge? Do Rockwell’s pictures tell you a complete story without words? Do you know of any other examples?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a comment below and we can talk…


By the way, if you like what you’ve read, why not share it on Twitter, Facebook or wherever you hang out using the buttons below – then others may enjoy it too.

Get the latest posts sent straight to your email inbox for FREE.



Enter your email address:Delivered by
2 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 1 Pin It Share 0 Email -- 2 Flares ×

Related scribblings:

Editing clips: Holiday greetings …
How to know if you and your copywriter are a match made in heaven
Walk the talk: own your words
The evil truth about contrast and conflict in all great storytelling
Rebuilding the ad break: more disruptive content marketing from LEGO brand


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge

2 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 1 Pin It Share 0 Email -- 2 Flares ×