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Ciara Cunningham

Aurion Learning

Marketing Manager

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3 Things Dragon from Shrek teaches us about storytelling


Everyone loves a good fairy tale and we couldn’t resist talking about one of our favourite fairy tales and sharing why we think it contains some great tips for creating original stories.

Although Disney are famous for their fairy tales; at Aurion, we are not all traditional Disney fans, we love doing things differently; just like the team at Dreamworks Animation. To celebrate and honour a fairy tale come true, we’ve shone the spotlight on the character of Dragon from the Dreamworks Animation production of Shrek.

We’ve compiled a list of three things that Dragon has taught us about creating great stories:

1.  Don’t judge a book by its cover

There is more to Dragon than meets the eye. When we first encounter her, she is charged with the task of guarding the castle where Princess Fiona is imprisoned. She is fierce, she is scary, and she is after all a fire-breathing dragon. Dragon is the trial that Shrek and Donkey must overcome in order to complete their quest. When Donkey has only his powers of persuasion left between him and imminent death by Dragon, we see a different side of Dragon. She becomes soft, flirtatious and affectionate. This creates a hilarious scene. Any audience loves to see a different side of characters that moves far beyond the stereotypes and typecasts. The best storytellers add depth and originality to their characters by doing the unexpected. The audience then gets to go on a wild adventure and discover new things.

2. Plot twists are the best

Audiences love nothing more than being taken on a rollercoaster and the absurd becoming reality. As Kurt Vonnegut said about writing, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” Great storytelling is about creatively capturing the narrative and stories that have not yet been told. When Dragon becomes infatuated, heartbroken and then overjoyed as Donkey returns her affections, the audience are taken on an emotional trip where they become invested in Dragon and her story. In a remarkable change of events, Dragon, who originally was cast as an obstacle for Shrek and Donkey becomes the hero when he devours Farquaad in the wedding scene. Dragon teaches us that the unique, inventive and creative storylines are the best.

3. Everyone loves a good ‘happy ever after’

The allure of a ‘happy ever after’ is irresistible to almost any audience member. Dragon and Donkey’s ‘happy ever after’ fulfills all of the stereotypes; romance, family, their children growing up with Shrek and Fiona’s children. The end of every good story need not be as obvious as this children’s movie but must contain a degree of resolution for each of the characters. Great storytellers take care to tie up the loose ends and present a solution to the challenge faced by the characters in the plot.

Later this year, Aurion Learning will beta release a new bespoke toolkit for creating short digital stories. The online toolkit; storee, will allow anyone to create and share stories for free using their own narrative, video clips and photos, quickly and easily.

If you are interested in taking part in storee beta can register at

So why not embrace your inner Dragon, get creative and tell your story. For the latest storytelling updates, tips and guides, follow @tellmystoree on Twitter.

Author Profile Picture
Ciara Cunningham

Marketing Manager

Read more from Ciara Cunningham

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