Tell me a story

What makes a blog post great? Tell me a story.

Don’t try to make me to “Like” your post. Don’t optimize your prose for search engines. Don’t spend time trying to pick a pinnable feature image for your post.

Just tell me a story.

It doesn’t even have to be a great story. As I reboot my writing life here on this blog and elsewhere, I know I’m going to tell my share of just “ok” stories. The most important thing that makes a story a story is that it’s real.

What’s real? Real is what you, the writer, make it.

Real could be a description of what you had for breakfast. Real could be a retelling of the the Battle of Lexington during the American Revolutionary War. Real could be a fictional character that you can imagine so strongly that they could be your best friend…or your worst enemy. Real might be that place on a planet far, far away, that place where you know that when the inhabitants walk out the door in the morning on their way to work, the air smells faintly of milk, due to the planet’s unique atmospheric makeup.

Ask yourself this question: “How much do I believe what I’m writing here?” The most you can answer, “Absolutely 100%”, the more your writing is real.

I “like” blog posts that tell me a story because they stir up something inside of me. They make me see a side of the world I didn’t know was there. They make me want to email them to friends (yes, I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to sharing) because I want them to experience this little chunk of the world the way that I did.

How do you write a story? I’ll leave you with two bits from my favorite storytellers of all time, Disney’s Pixar.

Apply Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling, valuable bits of advice even (maybe especially) if you’re writing non-fiction.

Listen to filmmaker Andrew Stanton’s (Toy Story, WALL-E) amazing TED talk about storytelling — start at the ending and work backwards.

And here are some blog posts (written or otherwise) I’ve read recently that I think tell great stories, for you to see examples:

Dear Mom With a Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis (Lauren Warner for the Huffington Post)

Taking back Eden (Jamie the Very Worst Missionary)

Stephen Colbert’s Tribute To His Late Mother, Lorna Tuck Colbert (VIDEO) (via Huffington Post)

Inspired by “Daily Prompt: Great or Greatest?” from The Daily Post @ WordPress.com.

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6 thoughts on “Tell me a story

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