The 3 elements of storytelling for non-fiction writers to make their point across as soon as possible without boring their reader
Stories keep your reader engaged. Period.
Jesus Christ understood that as well as Aesop. It’s a very effective technique to make your point across without boring your audience. And because it’s a technique that has been battle-tested for more than a thousand years, it’s unlikely that someone will disagree.
What most will disagree on is the “how” — how do you tell a story to make it more engaging?
I’ve been hanging out in a storytelling community for more than a year now, learning about how to do just that. Here are the things I learned (and continue to test):
- Don’t stay in the middle — share stories you’re either super excited or too embarrassed to share.
- Structure your content to go one way, then quickly go the other way (multiple times) to make a “zigzag” effect.
- End the story with an unexpected lesson — a lesson that doesn’t have a direct correlation to the story.
Ever since I received the following comment:
I wondered, “How do I distill what I just did, so I can do it again in the future?”
I’m at that age where my default answer to “What’s up?” is “Same old, same old…”.
That almost always ends the conversation right away. I’m not trying to be anti-social, I just “suck” at small talk. But when I finally have the urge to share, I end up sharing something that most people already experienced (carefully filtering what I really felt). My ego won’t let me share anything that could lower my social status among my peers.
In other words, I’m not really sharing anything unique.
The same thing was happening with my stories online — they’re not interesting!