Finding the right structure and formula for how you are going right your explainer video, or next commercial piece can be daunting, luckily we have thousands of years of stories to draw from.


I think a lot about story-telling, and copywriting. I think it is the deconstructionist part of my personality, that makes me want to take things apart just to see how they work. I enjoy how with most forms of artistic expression there is an element of formulaic “put-togetherness,” if you will. Whether it is a third act twist, hook in a song, or just drawing a face. There is a formula that makes these things work for us as the end user of that piece.

For this post what I would like to bring to you if you have the interest or the patience for it, is the oldest form of storytelling. From the Bible to Lord of The Flys it is a structure and formula that permeates the way we tell our stories. It goes by two names, ring structure or chiastic structure.

Here is how it works, and why it is something you should know. No matter what types of stories you are telling it will work for you.

For me, I love a narrative that has a poetic form to it. I enjoy a story that has has precision in its plot and how the character interacts with that plot. We all know that there are three main parts to a story, a beginning middle, and an end. What about beyond those three things? What makes a beginning middle and an end work together to reach an end goal? Well, allow me to show you…

How chiastic structure or ring structure works is a pattern of, A, B, C ‘C,’B,’A. Or A, B,’B,’A. Or just A,’A. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be. The mechanics of the shortest usage A,’A, in is basic for is used when you make a statement, then you make another statement in direct opposition to it the one you just made. We hear these all the time in speeches. “(A)Don’t ask what your country can do for you, (‘A) but what you can do for your country.”

See how the second part is a mirrored statement to the first? Pretty cool ay?

To expand on this, let’s look at a story that is a more complex.

(Pulled Strait From Wikipedia, forgive me)

Paradise Lost uses this wonderfully to tell its story. Here is how the story works mechanically in a chiastic or ring structure.

A: Satan’s sinful actions (Books 1-3)
B: Entry into Paradise (Book 4)
C: War in heaven (destruction) (Books 5-6)
C’: Creation of the world (Books 7-8)
B’: Loss of paradise (Book 9)
A’: Humankind’s sinful actions (Books 10-12)

Alright, you may be following me, or you may not. If you need a few more examples, these site look at Star Wars, and the Matrix in showing how structurally they are told. These are super interesting reads when you have enough time for them to break your brain.

Now how do we use this for your business or an ad? Well to use another chiastic phrase:

Easy peasy, Lemon squeazy!

I’ll wait for your laughter subside….

How this is used in a practical sense for writing advertisements or an explainer video is simple. (I’ll go more in-depth in another blog.) A simple formula would go:

A Introduction – Hi my Name is
B Problem – I noticed you have this problem
C Solution – Good thing we have this solution
C’ Demo – Here is how this works
B’ Value – The most important to remember about this solution
A’ Call to action – To learn more go here

Pretty nifty huh?

This is a simple and easy way to write a compelling ad. I think when we are making ads we overlook something extremely important, what is the story. Yes, big beautiful visuals are great, but how are you engaging with the people that you are spending loads and loads to reach? How are you crafting something that will stick with them after they move on to something else?

My view on this is simple, tell a well-crafted story and build a thoughtful relationship with them.