Every Bang2writer knows storytelling is not easy. But whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay or any other kind of writing (including sales copy, blogs and other content), incorporating storytelling in your writing is a MUST! Ready? Let’s go …
1) Show, don’t tell
Yes, this line has become a bit of a cliché throughout the writing industry. However, that doesn’t make it any less true. As we rush to meet deadlines or to push out new content, it’s one of the easiest habits to forget.
The concept seems straightforward, but the subtle difference between the two can trip up writers old and new. Simply put, it’s going a bit deeper than just using superficial descriptive words. As author Jerry Jenkins tells us, don’t say someone is “tall” show people by telling them how others look up at him, or how he has to duck when going in the doorway. MORE: Writing Adages Explain – ‘Show, Don’t Tell’
2) Learn from the best
We get it, you want to be you. You want your storytelling to have that unique voice and pacing that will immediately distinguish you from everyone else. While that’s an admirable goal, and one you should strive for, don’t forget that there are still valuable lessons to be learned from those who have mastered the art.
Stephen King’s On Writing is considered a must-read for anyone who wants to pursue any kind of writing career. Other legends, like Elmore Leonard’s, also have priceless advice to give.
3) Explore different storytelling mediums
As we spend so much of our time reading and writing, it’s easy to forget that it’s not the only (nor the first) form of storytelling. Before writing, our ancestors drew paintings in caves to depict what they saw around them, as well as memorable events.
Visual media still has an important role to play in storytelling. Video, infographics, memes and photos drive engagement, even as attention spans plummet. It’s time to start practising storytelling across mediums to stay relevant and ahead of the curve. Soon, our main form of storytelling may even be virtual reality.
By the way, your workload doesn’t need to double for each new medium. Content repurposing is a great way to bring the same content across different mediums and platforms.
4) Know your audience inside and out
Storytelling is all about empathy. Without empathy, your readers won’t connect with your story and you, in turn, won’t connect with them. It all starts with researching and knowing your audience. Ask yourself:
Who is your target audience? What do they want? Plus what do they need? And what do they like?
This is equally as important when writing a best-selling novel, an informative essay, or sales copy. Knowing what will pique their interests will help you hook them from the start all the way through to a satisfying conclusion.
5) Always have a point
A strong focal point help tie your story together and give your content a focus. This is especially true for any type of content aimed at conversions or sales. In this case, your core message and/ or theme should feel like the natural outcome of your piece or narrative.
Readers should never have to ask themselves “So? What’s the point?” after engaging with your content. Instead, aim for an “Ahah!” or “Now it all makes sense” kind of moment.
Defining an effective and crowd-pleasing can only be done if you know your audience.
6) Practice, practice, practice!
Finally, no honest successful writer today will tell you they struck gold on their first try. It takes years to master the art of the written word, no matter your exact discipline. In the beginning, it’s going to be hard to implement all of these tips. However, if you focus on incorporating them into your work, they will form powerful habits over time and transform you into a master. MORE: 5 Things I Learned From Story Expert John Yorke
Storytelling is very much like marketing. You have to sell your product. This means you need understand it and your target audience. Once you master the art of making others believe and feel YOUR story, you captivate them.
BIO: David Gutierrez is a web design freelancer and contributor. He enjoys sharing his professional experience in writing, blogging, and content creation. Contact David at david.gutierrez.business@
Thanks, David. Excellent points.
Re show vs tell: Sometimes tell is the better option. In the midst of an action scene, readers don’t want a flood of words. They want to move through the story as fast as the action would be in real life.