The Power of Storytelling — Or Why You Should Be Telling Stories No Matter What You Write About | by David B. Clear | May, 2023

The Power of Storytelling — Or Why You Should Be Telling Stories No Matter What You Write About | by David B. Clear | May, 2023

Seriously, this is applicable to all writers

David B. ClearThe Writing Cooperative

Image by the creator.


You’re boring me. You’re boring me along with your howtos, your explainers, and your N-steps to do that or that. You’re boring me along with your informative weblog posts that do nothing however… inform.

Yeah, positive, I wish to be taught new expertise and concepts and turn out to be higher educated. I wish to turn out to be a smarty-pants and pompously impress strangers by explaining the ins and outs of how energy poses can provide you higher mortgage offers — or no matter else it’s you write about. But, dammit, I additionally wish to be entertained!

And, positive, I’ll learn your piece for those who can idiot me into believing I completely must know what you must inform me. But, sadly for you, I’m now not that simply fooled by clickbaity headlines akin to The Shocking Secret Stephen King Doesn’t Want You to Know About Coffee Enemas and Becoming a Best-Selling Author.

So, if you’d like me and different subtle readers to learn you, you must give you one thing higher than disappointing hyperbole to maintain us engaged. Fortunately, one thing higher exists: tales.

There’s a purpose in style science books make it into the New York Times best-seller checklist, however you’ll discover zero textbooks in there. There’s a purpose folks watch documentaries whereas affected by a pizza coma, however virtually nobody watches college lectures once they’re bored.

What’s that purpose? Stories.

Textbooks are all about conveying information and details and ideas and nothing extra. Ditto lectures. They get learn and watched as a result of individuals are compelled to.

But you possibly can’t pressure me to learn your stuff. I’m now not in class. You’re not my instructor. And for those who’re considering of tying me all the way down to force-feed me your writing, simply know that my pores and skin is oilier than a lubricated hagfish. That means I’ll simply slip out of your ropes like a squeezed banana does out of its peel.

So what does that imply for you? It means this: if you’d like me to learn your stuff, you’ll have to tie me down another method. And one of the very best methods to tie folks down and make them learn your stuff is by telling them tales.

That’s the trick in style science books and documentaries use. And you ought to be utilizing it too.

We people are storytelling creatures. Stories are how we conveyed information from era to era for ages, effectively earlier than writing existed. And it’s nonetheless one of the very best methods to convey information.

For occasion, for those who inform me a cute little loris is a harmful mammal, that’s only a forgettable truth.

A sluggish loris. Photo by Roi Dimor on Unsplash

But for those who inform me a narrative of the way you as soon as adopted a sluggish loris and after french kissing it, your lips melted away as a result of of the cutie’s flesh-rotting venom — and it’s an elaborate romantic story with heaps of particulars — I’ll positive as hell bear in mind to not hug one.

Stories are memorable. Facts and factoids usually are not.

Indeed, the ability of tales can be why anecdotes so typically trump knowledge. Show me a stack of papers itemizing all the kids who’ve died from malaria within the varied provinces of Sierra Leone this 12 months and I’ll simply go “Pfffffftt… Who cares? There’s nothing I can do about it anyway.”

But inform me an anecdote — a narrative — of how two-year-old Amara was bitten by a mosquito whereas sleeping tied to the again of her mother Memuna, who was toiling the earth in sweat till late within the night, attempting to make sure she would be capable to feed her household, and the way Amara as a consequence of that little mosquito chunk died a horrible demise, and the way it devastated her mother Menuna, I’m more likely to be moved sufficient to search for charities that fight malaria.

Remember, we’re not rational creatures. We’re emotional creatures. That’s why we’re moved by tales and never by knowledge. And as a author, you shouldn’t solely bear in mind of that, but in addition exploit that truth.

So, don’t overlook: you may make so much of info far more comprehensible, relatable, memorable, participating, and simply far more enjoyable to learn for those who do one factor — sofa it in a narrative. And on condition that’s the case, why wouldn’t you? Why would you simply barf out details as a substitute of telling a narrative?

Thus, regardless of the style you’re writing in — even for those who’re writing nonfiction weblog posts about the right way to scale back your mortgage with a entrance double biceps pose whereas fletching your enamel — you ought to be telling tales. It’s such a robust device that not utilizing it’s like scoffing at a screwdriver and driving screws right into a wall along with your nostril as a substitute.

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