Storytelling Tips

  |   Better Writing Print Friendly and PDF

We love stories. We love to hear them. We know that stories make our writing better. But many people have trouble telling stories. Here are some tips to help. They won’t all work for you, but they’re all worth a try.

The storytelling goal

Tell your story in writing the same way you’d tell it to a friend. When you’re in doubt about what to say or how to say it, imagine how you’d say it, out loud, to a friend.

Don’t try to be a writer

You may be tempted to tell a story in print differently than you’d tell it in conversation. Resist that temptation. Make it conversational and casual.

Record your story

If you can’t quite get your story right on the page, try telling the story and recording it. Tell it to a friend while you record it. Then, transcribe your story and start editing.

Let your body help you

Some people record their story while they’re standing or walking and telling it. I don’t know the science behind this, but I’ve found that I start acting out my story when I do that and I use richer descriptions.

Don’t be the hero

When you make yourself the hero, readers are likely to perceive you as bragging. If you need to write about an incident in your life help readers identify with you by making yourself human and fallible. Tell stories about mistakes you learned from.

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Lori L. Jacobwith   |   12 Jun 2014   |   Reply

Agreed on all fronts! It’s a conversation about something that inspired, bothered or engaged you…that’s a story. Anything else is a report and/or likely boring to listen to or read. Thanks for the post!

Wally Bock   |   12 Jun 2014   |   Reply

Wow. That’s a great distinction. Thanks for sharing it.