A few tips on how to tell a story. Whether it’s your life story, a news story, or a story from your imagination, there are some tips that make it more easily conveyed. Please consider, I did not say that makes it better. The difference is that a story doesn’t have to be told brilliantly, to be understood.
In a perfect world, both would be true. In the real world a story could be great, and not communicated in a way that the listener or reader can comprehend. Often, a story that is anything from good, such as a tragedy, can be communicated well.
First I would suggest to use clear language. If you communicate your story well through words that most can understand, it will be effective. Effective words have a far longer shelf life than large ones, or words thought to be impressive. Writers will tell you to never use ten words when you can use five words. Many a story has been damaged by trying to make it longer than it should be.
Don’t fall so in love with your language you forget that the words are only a vehicle to transport an idea. To use one of my wife’s childhood stories as an illustration, I can’t tell you how the book The Wizard Of Oz begins, but I can tell you what it is all about. Words in a book are like brush strokes on a painting, they are part of the final product, but not the big picture.
Second, make it interesting. Even if the subject matter isn’t interesting, because some stories are necessary, but not exciting. Have you ever wondered why some cooking shows succeed and others don’t? They may cover the same recipe, but the one that is more interesting will survive.
There are ways to make any story interesting. To tell a story well, you can have detail, but not unnecessary details. You can add humor, or share relative information. Seek to make your story appealing, this will capture a broader audience.
Third, have an ending for your story. A story without a climax is only half way finished. Your story does not have to have an agenda, a moral, or attempt to convince someone. Some stories will, but not all, yet all stories need an ending. A story needs to have something at the end that explains why it was told to begin with.
These few tips can improve any speech or written work. Say it clearly, stop when your story is finished, have a point, and make it entertaining. When you do this, people will want to hear more. They may even ask you for a few tips on how to tell a story.