Writing Better Stories


Richard McCullough offers advice on how writers can meet the marketplace with the stories they tell.

PRODUCT

What product do we “storytellers” produce? What product do we exchange with our readers?

STORY

Writers produce stories because that’s what our readers are buying – a story. Characters exploring a theme to pursue a goal.

WHY DO WE TELL STORIES?

Stories are how we make sense out of life and how a culture defines itself. Stories are how we attempt to understand where we’ve come from, who we are, and where we’re going.

WHAT IS A STORY EXACTLY?

Definition: story – a fictional narrative, consisting of an introduction leading either to an event (or two causally related incidents, culminating in an event) and ending with a conclusion of the premise of the narration.

WHAT DOES THE READER WANT?

All the buying public wants is: a good story, well told.

FAMILIARITY

Our familiarity with the product is the problem. But it can’t be too different from our comfort level.

We’ve been reading, watching, and hearing stories our whole lives. So we start off as writers thinking we know what they are.

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