Once upon a time I was a horrible storyteller, until one day, I met a mysterious man with thick framed glasses in a long black trench coat who, in exchange for my soul, granted me the secrets to story telling. His only ask: that I never reveal those secrets to the world.
But it turns out the man in the black trench coat was actually only Steven King, and my soul was actually only the price of a book, a paperback called "On Writing" by Steven King. A gift in fact from my wife a few years ago. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it.
If you don't have time to read King's book, but you're still interested in becoming a great storyteller, without losing your soul, here are a few simple yet underused and misunderstood tools to get you there, from the master storyteller himself.
And no, none of the tips below involve murder, but may include an undead cat, and a freshly dug up cat grave.
Note: Verbal storytelling won't be our focus today. Today we look at the how to write a great story.
And if you think writing a great story doesn't apply to you, then well, you're just super wrong. The best ways we communicate to each other are through stories.
Stories shape and change us.
Stories start wars and help end them.
Stories can grant fortunes and destroy them.
Stories are what we humans have been sharing for thousands of years.
So this is kind of a big deal, which I hope helps you with your next story...
10 Easy Steps Most People Miss When Storytelling:
1. Your first draft is always a draft. I never send anything out that I haven't read through at least three or more times. If its a big op-ed piece, then we could be talking 5-10 drafts before publication. If it's even bigger, like a book, then 20+ drafts kick in.
2. The first draft you write is always for you.
3. The second draft you write is for everyone else.
4. The third draft you write you take out things that are not actually part of the story. This could be something you added that doesn't actually give value to the story.
5. Read the last edit out loud: When I read my final draft, I always read it out loud. This helps polish and smooth the story, giving it better tempo and flow.
6. The next day edit: If what I'm trying to communicate is complicated, I save my work and come back to it the next day, when I'm fresh in the morning.
7. Truth is emotion. Not facts, not figures, not statistics. All the aforementioned can be faked and twisted. But not emotion. If you can write something that touches someone else's spirit, their soul, then well, you have succeeded in your mission in being a good or even great storyteller.
8. This is the hard one, and it's called "Practice." Write daily. Every Day. I've been writing daily now for nearly three years and I can clearly see my improvements. Like any skill, improving takes time and practice.
9. Read. Read. Read. Reading your favourite authors and articles will help you improve your writing skills. By reading stories by the masters of literature you'll learn how the best writers can say more with less.
10. Writing Feedback Group. Find your closest friends who support your efforts and ask them to be part of your Writers Feedback Group. Great friends are supportive, but even better friends will tell you what sucks, or if they've lost interest.
Thanks for reading today. And remember, if your cat is acting strange, it may be undead, or just hungry. Either way, you should probably feed it soon...
- Goran Yerkovich
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About the author - Goran Yerkovich is the founder of The-Inspired.com, an online magazine designed to help readers reach their personal goals. The-Inspired includes some of the best yet most misunderstood tools, tactics, and habits from the greatest minds of today and yesterday. Goran lives in the greater Vancouver area with his wife and two cats Kimchi and Kauai.