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Story Beats Monologue

with 5 comments

Why, again, do we elevate didactic talking points?

I hear “story” a lot these days.

Clients are looking for stories because stories show how something—their product, for instance—works in real life. A story is engaging. There is some tension in a story. There is a human factor in a story—we get to know some character. There is specificity that perks our attention. This is all story stuff.

We must work to help the story emerge

We must work to help the story emerge

Students like stories because they put a concept together into an easily digestible form.

In some ways it seems like nearly anything put in story form gets attention. Even over at Dumb Sketch Daily people comment that they are curious about stories behind the various dumb sketches appearing there. And if there is no story, the reader makes one up. It’s nearly an involuntary response. Our minds are made to put things together, to look for the connections and to make things fit. We find stories where none should exist: I’m remembering one daughter who named each bag of leaves in the back of the van and told stories about them—even as we drove the newly-named leaf bags to the compost heap.

In the race to get heard, story is a form we are all searching for. Story is irresistible. Sermons and monologues induce sleep. Story wakes. Story compels.

So why is it, again, that we elevate facts and principles and dry argument to such a high place? We think intellect beats emotion. But how much better if emotion and intellect are joined?


Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

September 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

5 Responses

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  1. Agreed!

    Sand Salt Moon

    September 28, 2015 at 9:21 am

  2. Reblogged this on Rose with Thorns and commented:
    We all long to hear stories. I love talking to people on the bus to work and learning their stories. This is far more interesting than a monologue of opinions or complaints. I want to know something about you in a story. That shows me who you really are.


    September 28, 2015 at 9:28 am

  3. Great post Kirk! I agree completely! It’s easy to fall into the monologue trap when writing, but stories are always far superior.

  4. Facts and principles sometimes require a narrative (as metaphor) to make them more understandable. People construct story lines in order to personalize the facts.


    September 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

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