“Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are as human beings. We all love stories. We’re born for them. Stories affirm who we are. We all want affirmations that our lives have meaning. And nothing does a greater affirmation than when we connect through stories.”—Andrew Stanton

In this TEDTalk, Andrew Stanton goes on to discuss what makes a great story. There are some obvious things—character development, a strong theme, a promise of outcome. All of these are essential to creating a great story. But he also introduced another suggestion for great narrative by asking, “does it invoke wonder?” Will audiences, readers, and listeners leave with a sense of awe and wonder? These elements of a story are not as simple of beginning, middle, and end. Rather, they need to be embedded into the content and plot of the story.

We need stories. Stories are important. They give us hope and they remind us who we are. They allow us to connect with others in unique and different ways. Stories can provide us with knowledge or teach us a lesson. They can make us laugh or make us cry. But a great story should always leave the audience struck with wonder.