If you’re a writer, take five minutes today to listen to this discussion by Ira Glass, NPR correspondent and host of my personal favorite radio show of all time, This American Life. Glass discusses the power of storytelling in capturing peoples’ interest — even in fairly boring material.
Publications coach Daphne Gray-Grant, in her weekly newsletter, Power Writing, summarizes Glass’s points thusly:
Stories and anecdotes are central to interesting writing because no matter how boring the material, the momentum of the form will carry the reader/listener along. (Glass compares hearing or reading an anecdote to being on a train.)
Interesting stories, by themselves, are not enough. They must have a point. Glass calls this the “moment of reflection.” This is the big payoff for the reader or listener. It’s when the writer shows the connection between the story that grabbed your interest and the idea that just might change your life.
Gray-Grant asks her readers this: “This week as you’re writing, ask yourself: Are you telling enough stories? And are you connecting the dots for your reader?”