How to Create Powerful Stories

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oceanGame of Thrones. Mad Men. Orphan Black. Week after week, millions of viewers tune in to watch. Why? Because we love powerful stories.

Well-crafted stories resonate. At the same time, they can instruct and persuade. Writers and marketers recognize the key elements most compelling stories include, while researchers explore the ways our brains respond. We understand the patterns and the science behind them, yet one question remains: how do we generate ideas for the powerful stories we want to tell?

Having spent the past several days at a storytelling conference, I’ve got four simple strategies to share:

  1. Start with a list: In five minutes or less, write down 10 cool things about yourself. Don’t overthink. Just write down what comes to mind.
  2. Your perspective: Choose one item from your list and then write the story of that cool thing from your own perspective. Write for seven minutes without stopping. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation. Just write.
  3. Another’s perspective: Take this same topic and write about it from someone else’s perspective, say a parent, sibling, family member, or friend. Write for seven minutes.
  4. Fairy tale: Take the same subject and write the story as a fairy tale. Seven minutes should do it. Because of its simplicity, this approach should help you get to the essence of your story.

Now you’ve not only got the makings of a powerful story, but you’ve also got a list of nine potential topics just waiting for your attention. Next you can focus on key story elements you’ll want to include. For now, though, celebrate the fact that you’ve generated the ideas and drafted a story.

Let me know how your writing goes!

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