Skill #3 Harness the power of the particular

The most common storytelling mistake is the failure to help the audience experience the story. Your goal is to take the audience on a rather emotional journey, not just a factual or chronic one. The best stories are not only true; they convey the truth by helping the audience live it.

When we’re specific, we take our audience on an emotional journey with us. They may not have experienced it firsthand, but they can closely relate to our story.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Describe tiny, true details.
  • Zoom in on one small scene of a bigger story.
  • Draw the reader or listener into a single moment in time.
  • Help the audience experience the events as they unfold.
  • Ground the audience with locations, character names, seasons, and so on.
  • Paint a mental picture of what the characters are feeling, seeing, experiencing…