What Is Story? [3-01]
This is the first episode in Season 3 (2019) of the podcast and it focuses on Story and Storytelling.
While this season will end up being a full length one *ahem* unlike season 2 *ahem*, with the rebranding of the company I’ll be rebranding the podcast as well. More on that in the podcast and over the coming weeks, but the changes are very exciting and will lead to a greater appreciation of story.
And don’t worry if you’ve enjoyed the content up to this point, it’ll still be a great place for writers to find tips, tricks, interviews, and more!
If you have a question you’d like to ask, there’s a button the right side of the website to make it easy! Or, if you’re on mobile you can click here.
The podcast is brought to you by Steam Powered Dreams Publishing but paid for out of my own pocket. If you’d like to show your support, there are many different ways to do it:
As always, below is a direct copy of the show notes. They were written before the episode was recorded and are unedited but are here for reference and SEO.
Topic: What Is Story?
- Welcome to The Storyteller’s Mindset. A podcast that…wait, what? This is
No no no, they said to be here at 3 PM on Saturday, I know I’m in the right place.
Maybe I’ll just go with it…
- Okay, so this isn’t the Storyteller’s Mindset…at least not yet.
- Later this year, the podcast, Instagram channel, and facebook group will be transitioning from The Authorpreneur Mindset to, as you probably guessed, The Storyteller’s Mindset
. This goes hand in hand with the changes that are happening over on Steam Powered Dreams and the transition from a Publishing House into a Story Studio.
- So, with all the changes happening, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to talk about
story, what it truly means, and why it’s so important.
- New news about Me or Steam Powered Dreams
- Before we get into
story, a quick update on the rebranding and how it’s going.
- I just recently completed an overhaul of much of the webpage, so if you haven’t been there in a while you should go check it out.
- I also vastly upgraded our Service page, though there’s still more to do in that regard.
- See, with this rebranding comes an…expansion of what we can offer, while also pulling back on a few things that weren’t working for us
. We’re still offering writer services, such as editing and formatting, as well as our two types of publishing, but we’re doing away with some of the other services for writers and replacing them with Writing Consultation. This essentially will cover anything that a writer needs that doesn’t require us to comb over the manuscript.
- We’ll also be merging SPD Sites into the main site, as well as offering marketing and branding for storytellers
- From here on out, everything we do will be with story and storytellers in mind.
- And I think that’s a great transition point into actually talking about
story . You’d be surprised at how few people can truly define what story means . The official definition is “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment”, and that makes sense, but by that definition, anything could be considered a story . For the sake of this episode, let’s reword that definition to something more along the lines of an account of an event shared from one person to another that invokes your imagination and leaves you wanting more . Even this definition doesn’t truly encapsulate what story truly is, so let’s dive deep . A story is really a retelling of events that are designed to catch the attention of the audience. This retelling could be through the written word, sounds and words, visually, or even by touch or smell . And if you don’t think you’ve ever experienced a story from a smell, I invite you to find your favorite childhood food or the perfume your grandmother wore and tell me it doesn’t invoke a retelling of events from your past . You see, a storyteller doesn’t have to be an actual person, just as a story doesn’t have to be seen or heard.
- I’d go even further to say that a story actually envokes multiple senses at once, at least a good story
. Thinking back again to your favorite food growing up, if you’re like most people just the thought of it, which is you retelling the event to yourself, might allow you to smell or taste it, even though it’s nowhere near you.
- Now, I don’t want to get too far into the abstract idea of story and storytellers, but it’s good to understand this concept, since marketers are using these tactics more and more to sell products and services, and that’s not really a bad thing
. But, none of this explains why one story is great and another may fall flat . That’s because a good storyteller knows that a story is more than just the senses that make it . A truly good story also needs to do at least one of the following: Inform, Educate, or Entertain . Let’s walk through each of these so we can get a good idea of how to effectively create stories around each of them . Using a story to inform essentially means you’re using the words to tell someone about something. In marketing, this is usually a service or product, but could as easily be an event or situation. Maybe you’re trying to get the word out about your new copywriting service, so you tell a story about how you got started.
- On the other hand, when you use
storyto educate, you have to give detailed steps, which might seem counter-intuitive for storytelling. However, everything you do has a story to it, even if it’s simply how to screw in a screw . Finally, entertaining. This is what most people think of when they think of story, so I won’t spend much time on this, but your job is to evoke emotion from them in a way that they feel connected to what you’re saying or writing.
- Let me give you an example:
- When I was young I knew a boy named Jared. He looked up to me and just really wanted to be like me.
- Now, I wasn’t a bully by any definition, in fact, I’d been bullied myself a lot prior to meeting Jared, but something about the way he treated me really brought out the worst
. Anyway, Jared was a nice kid but didn’t have many friends. I took him under my wing so to speak and, after a few months he would do pretty much anything I asked him to.
- During class, if I didn’t do my homework, he’d give me his to copy
. At lunch, I’d ask him for some of his food, even though I had my own . And if there was something that I needed during recess, I’d send him to do it instead of doing it myself . This went on for a while and for some reason I started to take advantage of Jerad. Instead of asking him for favors, I’d command him.
- Instead of seeing if he wanted to share his food, I’d just take it.
- It got so bad that I nicknamed him my dog
. Sorry, I didn’t think telling this story would get to me, but it’s bringing back some really bad memories . Poor Jared looked up to me so much and there I was, treating him worse than the people who made fun of him . He put up with it for a while, because in between these things, I treated him like a friend . But you can only push someone so far before they’ve had enough, and Jared finally had had enough.
- We had this game we’d play where I’d trip him and throw him on the ground, then pick him up and do it again
. It was a rainy day when it finally happened. We were playing outside under cover during recess and I thought it’d be funny to trip him right into a puddle.
What I didn’t think would happen is that he’d slip and fall not just into the puddle, but the mud next to it
. His pants, which were white by the way, were covered in mud.
- I’ll never forget his face when he stood up and told me he’d had enough of me and lunged at me
. His shoes were so muddy, instead of being able to punch me, he slipped and fell.
All the kids around us were laughing and I felt just horrible
- I helped him up and told him I was sorry, but the damage was done.
- Now, this story is simple but has a lot of elements to it. The first thing to note is that it actually does all three
. It informs the listener of an actionor time in my life when I wasn’t as thoughtful as I am now . It educates about the dangers of treating someone so poorly, as well as pushing someone over the edge . And it entertains by bringing up emotions of anger against me, feeling sorry or sad for Jared, and it may have even been a bit fun to some . This was an example of something more personal, but I think you can begin to see how the stories you tell are more than just the words written or said . When you’re trying to determine how to go about creating your story,or editing it, ask yourself if it has these elements . It’s also important to keep in mind that many stories are not meant to educate or inform, but almost all good stories incorporate at least a simple lesson in them.
- That’s it for this weeks topic
. With storytelling becoming a much more important part in the podcast, and my life in general, I’m hoping to tackle more topics like this one and delve deeper into the elements of story . If you have questions, there are two ways to reach me. The first is through the website at steampowereddreams.com/authorpreneurmindset and then click on Ask A Question.
- The second is to join our facebook group at facebook.com/SPDwritershelpingwriters
- Don’t forget to check us out on Instagram at authorpreneurmindset
- Until next week, I am your host Jeremy and don’t forget to keep moving forward.