Friday, December 6, 2013

Telling Stories (Part 1 of 10)

Good writers tell good stories. That's the simplest way to say it. It doesn't matter if we're writing nonfiction or fiction—the principle is the same. A novel is a series of stories collected in one major story. We need to think of each scene as a story.

If we write nonfiction, illustrations make our prose readable. I caught on to the importance of that years ago when I found an old copy of Norman Vincent Peale's Power of Positive Thinking. That book, first published in 1952, remained a best seller for decades and a number of older writers referred to him regularly.

Every chapter gave a principle, but he wrote two or more stories to illustrate. That was insightful for me—and that was 40 years ago. Today, a nonfiction writer who can't tell good stories rarely sells.

Without giving a dozen reasons for telling stories, I assume you agree on their importance. The next nine blogs will focus on how to tell good stories. (Did you notice I told a story? It's about Peale.)

Stories convey truth, 
sometimes better than stated principles.

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