All Writing Is Storytelling
All writing is storytelling. Not only short stories, novels, TV and movie scripts, but the kind of articles you depend on to sell your product or service.
Seasoned writers know this. They don’t throw words on a page, they work to capture the interest and imagination of readers. Nonfiction writers need to tell a story in the same way as fiction writers. Such writing creates a psychological connection in the mind of the reader, and that connection means profits for people who market their products and services on the Internet.
People Love Stories
Cavemen loved them when they sat around their glowing fires and today people love them as they sit around their glowing TV sets.
You say you only like sports? Even sports events are unfolding stories. All games start the same, but then the plot thickens. How will it end? Who will be the victor and who will be the vanquished? Each sporting event is filled with drama, conflict and plot twists.
All writing is storytelling because the human mind is hardwired to receive stories. The imagination craves them. people act on the stories they hear—they want to go out and live the life of the hero or heroine.
The Unchanging Plot
There are three parts to every good story: a beginning, middle and end. This is a natural flow and this symmetry is part of all stories, even jokes. That natural flow has been adapted in plays, movies, and TV shows. There is always an Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3.
Novels have the same structure, although it’s sometimes harder to see because novels generally have multiple sub-plots. Each of these subplots has their own beginning, middle, and end.
Emma Coats, former Pixar storyboard artist reduced the storytelling process to a few simple phrases:
1. “Once upon a time there was ___.
2. Every day, ___.
3. One day ___.
4. Because of that, ___.
5. Because of that, ___.
6. Until finally ___.”
“Once upon a time” introduces the characters and the location.
“Every day” is an extension of the introduction and describes normal events of the lives of the people in this location. We learn to love the characters and identify with their life. We get comfortable with the characters and want the best for them.
“One day…” Oh, oh, here is comes… disruption, the first in a series of challenges the characters must overcome.
One disruption causes certain consequences… which is the “Because of that…” at work. That disruption causes another and we find ourselves on a roller-coaster ride of emotional ups and downs. It is those conflicts that make the story interesting and maintains our attention.
“Until finally…” Until finally there is a resolution to all the conflict. This outcome is something that is also hardwired in human consciousness. We all want all stories to end with those wonderful words, “…and they lived happily ever after.”
This sequencing is just as important in nonfiction as it is fiction. It is just as important in articles and blog posts as it is to a book. A writer must make an initial connection with the reader, create conflict (or a series of conflicts) and then bring the whole matter to a happy conclusion.
How this Applies to Your Book Promotion
How does this play out in a marketing article? You grab reader attention by placing them in an idealized state of mind. It could be a personal story, the story of one of your clients, even a news story. Then blast that idyllic mental image by painting a picture of all the things that could go wrong, along with the devastating consequences. Finally, you tell them how your product or service can save them so they can “live happily ever after.”
That’s all people really want—to “live happily ever after.” The thing they must do to reach that state is secondary. Just tell the story and show how it is achievable. If they believe your product or service can help them reach that ultimate goal, then you will have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.