Ahoy and happy Monday!
Welcome to another week of Start Writing Online—where every week we dive into 1 of the 10 biggest problems all writers face:
- Generating ideas
- Impostor syndrome
- Writing consistently
- Finding time to write
- Loose feedback loops
(And, of course, if you want to crush all 10 of these AND master the fundamentals of Digital Writing in just 30 days, we'd love to have you in the next cohort of Ship 30 for 30!)
This week, we want to help you with the fundamentals of Storytelling.
Most people who decide (at a young age) that they want to become writers typically imagine themselves growing up to be a legendary storyteller:
- Steve Jobs
- J.K. Rowling
- Steven Spielberg
What you end up learning along the way, however, is that the entire key to storytelling is letting go of a lot of your own wants, needs, dreams, and desires as a writer and instead focusing on serving the reader.
What you think about your story is irrelevant (although hopefully you enjoy what you write!). What matters is whether the reader thinks it’s a great story—and it, in some way, impacts their life.
Mastering the fundamentals is the first step to becoming a legendary storyteller.
- How to think about structuring & framing your writing.
- What types of stories readers find most interesting.
- And how to keep readers engaged from beginning to end.
5 Essential Storytelling Resources
Ready to go down the rabbit hole?
How to Tell Compelling Stories As a Digital Writer
Over the course of an hour, he shares all the different techniques you can use to quickly engage readers and listeners, and then how you can repeat those techniques as you move along so you don’t lose their attention. For beginner storytellers, especially, this is a very helpful framework for how to begin thinking about telling stories that are in service of a specific type of reader.
How To Balance Writing For An Audience And Yourself
This quick clip from our weekly Q&A sessions in our Captain’s Table Member Ship community speaks directly to the number one question we always get asked when we talk about storytelling:
“How do I tell my story, but also write with the reader in mind?”
Legendary storytelling is all about finding this sweet spot. You want to stay true to yourself, but you also want to remember that the reader doesn’t owe you their attention.
The ABDCE Storytelling Framework **
If you want an easy template to play with when ideating your first story, check out this ABDCE framework—originally created by Anne Lamott, one of the great storytelling teachers and the author of the best-selling book on storytelling, Bird By Bird.
Cole summarizes the framework in this Twitter Thread, which you can use as a starting ground for your own story.
How To Tell A Personal Story **
Inspired by Matthew Dicks' "Homework for Life" from his book, Storyworthy, this 5-step process will help you find and craft meaningful stories from your everyday life experiences.
Use this process for anything you write with a personal touch.
How To Write A Billion-Dollar Story
This thread by Nathan Baugh masterfully breaks down how J.K. Rowling used 1 storytelling framework for the entire best-selling Harry Potter series.
All great stories follow a proven structure. And all great writers know how to leverage them—over and over. Use the same outline J.K. used to craft your own incredible story.
That's it for today!
Chat next week!
–Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole
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