1.Start from the Ending
Before you tell your story, have an idea of its purpose, the lesson you learned, or the punchline. This helps to avoid spiraling into the abyss of “going on and on’ without a definite ending. In order to get to the point, you have to know what it is, hopefully not too far in that abyss.
The audience read the title and that’s what they are anticipating they will be reading. So try not to lose focus along the way. I know that getting side tracked is a part of the writing process but leave that in the process, not the product.
3. The First 30 words:
Make them good, great preferably. Make them meaningful, or you have already lost the reader.
4. Place Us in the Scene
We don’t have to know every detail about the exact degree the shadow from the sun cast that day but it is important to immediately draw the audience into the setting of the story they should feel like they walked onto a set of a film and they are waiting for you to tell them what happens next.
5. Make it Personal
It’s all about connecting with your audience. Ethos and pathos make a story worthwhile. Make the audience feel like your best friend on a skype call that is 4 months overdue.
6. What’s the TEA?
…as my Uncle Petey would say. Most stories include some type of conflict. From the rising action to the climax back down to the resolution (and sometimes no resolution, even more interesting), these are the qualities of a great story and we all live for it.
7. Use your Outdoor Voice
Or your indoor voice, whichever is more appropriate for your story. More importantly, are you speaking in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person? Cognitive psychologist Dr. Vasu Reddy conducts research on the importance of active engagement which influences the relationship formed between two people. Try thinking of the audience as a person(you) instead of an other (they). Keeping things personal helps!… *see #4
8. Who is your Audience?
Keep this in mind. Is this a general crowd of people or is this all men, all women, young entrepreneurs, teenage boys. Who are you talking to? This will aid in the language you chose and the content you include.
A study by Hartmut Obendorf et al, revealed that approximately 4% of page views will spend more than 10 minutes on a page. I, admittedly, am one of them, unless the writer really demands my attention, which you have the power to do. So do be mindful of content and your ability to be concise, yet detailed enough to keep the reader scrolling.
10. Cliche but true: HAVE FUN
If you’re not having fun, we’re not having fun, and then this is not fun. Why are we doing this again? Enjoy the process, it reflects in the product.