Storytelling should be tethered to a cause

People read what they want to know about.

Most people must be seduced into reading what they need to know about.

When business and professional leaders tell teachers they want students to be able to tell stories, what they want is writers who can tell the stories the business and professional leaders want told.

Those stories are rarely first person narratives.

They are nearly always third person reportage.

And they are almost never a story the writer would have chosen to tell if she weren’t being paid: They are almost always boring stories.

The only reason writers get paid is because, unlike the suited-individuals who hire them, they can take uninteresting stories, find something in them that could be made to be interesting, and use that nugget to grab the attention of people who haven’t been paying attention and move them to action.

If you are going to teach narrative writing, what you should be focusing on is what people are willing to pay for: third-person reportage that finds a human story that can be told to breathe life into the boring story so it moves people to action.

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