“That catfish was so dang big it took three growed men and a boy to haul it into the boat. Durned near broke my pole, it did. And when it realized I weren’t about to give up, it headed for all that brush on the near shore, tryin’ to snap the line.
But I played him out along the bank, and kept him out of the weeds and the fell trees until I thought he was plumb tuckered out. It still took me and Clem and Luther, and little Andy, too, to haul him outta that muddy brown water and hold him on the boat bottom. He put up a thrashin’ that liked to break my arm.”
Storytelling sets a rhythm in motion that encourages readers to finish what they started. Good stories enchant their readers.
I think I’ve done it correctly in my books. I always try to imagine the reader sitting directly across from me as I tell the story. And I try to do it in simple, direct, compelling language, like my grandfather used to do with his fish tales.
When I write my own stories I try to talk to the reader as if I were speaking to one of my best friends. Reviewers have said it works. But storytelling and vulnerability don’t always come easily when translated into a blog like this one … even though I’m trying to talk to you as if you were one of my best friends, too.
Have you ever asked yourself why a specific blog post stopped you dead in your tracks? I have. I’ve read posts that were so captivating that I laughed out loud, or shed a tear. I’m willing to bet you have too.
If you think about it, like I’ve been doing lately, there are patterns at play in those great posts. Patterns that I’m afraid I’ve often ignored. You’ve probably read some of my posts that totally missed the mark, or left you yawning. There have been a bunch of them.
The ones that work, at least for me, are the ones where I’ve opened up with something personal. In a way, when you do that it makes you vulnerable. But when you’re most vulnerable, you tell your story wholeheartedly and honestly. The connections you make between yourself and the reader are authentic.
That kind of connectedness is what human beings are all about. It’s what writers are all about, too … or at least they should be.
For those of you who blog because you are also authors – particularly self-published authors – take a close look at the posts you think are captivating. I think you’ll find it’s because those writers tell their story without holding anything back. The authors are truly vulnerable to the audience and tell a vivid, compelling tale with a willingness to be transparent, as they would with a friend.
I try to remind myself of two things when I write this blog. I can either write content that is dry and safe, with no personality; or I can write something daring and transparent that will shake the floor beneath the reader’s feet. At the very least I should bring back a sweet memory of something that was special in their life, too.
Good storytelling is a skill that’s only mastered by doing it relentlessly. Once mastered, all you need to do is use it.
Now that you’ve come this far, won’t you please check out my book trailer?