Here are 5 mistakes guaranteed to ruin a good story:
- Start at the beginning. You know, like one of those Michener novels that traces the history of his characters back to the moment when fish first crawled out of the ocean to begin the long evolutionary transformation into homo sapiens. Riveting stuff. Not!
- Tell instead of show. Say stuff like, “I was sad” or “I was excited” instead of “I couldn’t stop sobbing” or “I jumped up and down like a kid.”
- Overdo the details. Tell us every last little thing, whether it’s relevant or not. Pretty soon we’ll be so far lost in the weeds we’ll forget the whole point of your story.
- Reveal too much too soon. Be sure we lose interest early by giving away the punch line and destroying that delicious suspense that keeps us hanging on every word.
- Yada, yada, yada. Go on and on and on. Bore us to tears, and find out how long it takes us to nod off.
So just to be clear: that’s what you DON’T want to do. Now let’s flip those mistakes around into my STORY Formula for Powerful Storytelling:
- Start with action or conflict; cut to the chase.
- Take us there; show us the characters and setting so we’re seeing a little movie in our minds.
- Organize your plot into a roller coaster ride of rising and falling action.
- Re-enact the scene; use dialog and gestures.
- Yowza! Punch the ending.
That’s it. The do’s and don’ts of brilliant storytelling. I hope these simple hints help you tell great stories. And if you’d like a little personal story coaching, sign in HERE to find out if you’re eligible for a complimentary Story Strategy Session—a 1-to-1 phone call with me.