Saturday, November 14, 2020

Nobody Can Look Away From a Good Story

 I’m so happy to see you here. I don’t know who you are, but welcome. If you’d like to tell me about yourself, please do, no pressure. It’s fun for me to talk about writing, and I see that you care about it too. 

I wonder about other things on

Nobody can look away from a good story.


The rub, dear writers, is making the story good.


You know the basics, right?

  • The character (hero) wants something.
  • The hero encounters a problem.
  • A guide steps in and offers a plan.
  • There is a call to action
  • The idea is to avoid failure and end with success.
What will happen if they are not successful?




Most really successful stories use this formula. You can deviate from it, but those stories rarely work well. We, as readers and movie watchers, are geared to the formula. Of course, within that framework is a myriad of stories.


George Lucas mastered the story in Star Wars. 


You’ve heard that we know within 15 minutes if we are going to like a movie. If it’s awful, we walk out; at home, we switch to another movie. In a book, we stop reading. Horrors.


In his book, Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller writes, “Story makes music out of noise.” Mark Twain emphasized that when he wrote. “Sorry about the long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” (Making music takes time.)


When a storyteller bombards us with too much information, we tune out. You know the novelist who gives so much description we skip over that passage? Miller says the reader burns too many calories organizing the data.


If you are writing to sell, the story idea works as well. The idea is to pass the grunt test.


Let’s say you are selling to a caveman:

  1. I sell aspirin. “Uh”
  2. It makes you feel better. “Uh.”
  3. You buy it here. “Uh.”

Remember the formula for story? Sell it.

  1. The customer is the hero.
  2. He has a problem.
  3. Meets a guide (One who helps him solve his problem—you.)
  4. The plan (agreement)
  5. Take action.

I believe most of my problems in selling is that I don’t meet a need. Trying to sell a book because you want to sell it is like selling refrigerators to Eskimos. (Although maybe they need a refrigerator to keep their food from freezing.)


If you are selling a book for entertainment, or education, you must first convince that person they need it. I'm crummy at that--but trying to learn.

I am working on a story, though, in Where Tigers Belch. (Small ebook like a newsletter.)


My problem: Finding one’s purpose.


I have met a guide: a little white-haired blind kahuna living in the jungle.


What happens next?

I don’t know. I’m making it up as I go along.

It’s coming out on November 21. I better get cracking.

See ya later,