A Tale of Two Stories

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The best preachers and teachers and business writers all tell stories. We have used stories since we invented language to share experience and to convey a lot of information in a tight, interesting package. That doesn’t mean we all do it the same way.

Recently, two of my favorite bloggers used stories to make their point. Dan Rockwell used a story in his post, “How A Jerk Revealed Her Purpose.” Ken Downer used a story in his post, “Kings, Cannibals, And Cultural Bias: Overcoming the Limitations of Convention.”

When you compare those posts, you’re likely to notice the things those two bloggers did differently. Dan used a short personal story. Ken used a longer historical story. In both cases, the story fit the character of their blogs.

Dan’s posts are 300 words long. He publishes every day. Ken’s posts vary in length, but they are much longer. He blogs about once a week.

Even though the posts are very different, Dan and Ken do some things the same way. They both begin their posts with the key story. A story is a great way to draw people into your post and foreshadow specific points you will make later.

Both Ken and Dan interpret the stories they tell. They summarize key points the story illustrates or supports.

Bottom Line

Stories are a writer’s friend. Use them to make your blog posts, articles, and books more readable and more helpful. Don’t get locked into one way of using stories. Make the way you use a story fit your style, your subject, and the medium where you’re telling it.

Resources

If you’re looking for more resources on storytelling for business writers, check out my post, “How to Tell A Story to Your Kids or Your Customers.”

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