Skip to main content

Secrets of Great Storytelling (Particularly for Memoirists)

Image placeholder title

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know how strongly I
recommend Ira Glass as a resource on learning how to storytell. Even
though his medium is radio, the same concepts apply to written stories
as well, particularly personal stories.

I recently discovered Ira's Manifesto over at Transom. As I've said before: It has the ability to change your stories overnight.

Two nuggets to get you interested:

Some
stories definitely aren't worth pursuing. These are stories where
everything reminds you too much of other stories you've already heard,
and stories where there's no sympathetic character (it's hard for the
story to carry much feeling if there's no one in the story to relate
to), and stories where everything kind of works out as you'd sort of
expect. Surprise is important. …

And yes, there are ways to get
a story to work. Often this means you have to think about what the
heart of the story is about, and figure out how to make that more
present. This can involve adding moments and scenes that build up the
central conflict (and pruning away the ones that don't). It can mean
making explicit what the story means, stating more directly what the
point of the whole thing is. More about that below.

Another reason to click-thru: The great Q&A session that follows each part of the manifesto. Rewarding.

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.