Story Core: At the Heart of Every Good Book is a Story(ies)

Lately, we have been telling both fiction and nonfiction clients over and over again not to lecture or explain to the reader. Instead, make the point by telling a story. It is so much more interesting to read and so much more likely to attract a publisher. Jesus did it in the New Testament of the Bible and he has been read by gazillions of people over many centuries. His book has been published a few times too.

We bring up this example not to proselytize but to make a point about writing. After all, the Bible is a great work of literature. Jesus preached in parables which are nothing more than stories that illustrate a point he was trying to make. The stories have added depth to his teachings and made them memorable through the centuries. Below is the parable of the woman and the coin. His point is in the last line; the imagery (story) readers remember comes before.

Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn't light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.' Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.


In this political season, observe how politicians use stories both about themselves and other people as a way of making political points real and memorable.

Writers are in the business of telling stories: To make the point that you were abused as a child, tell the story that illustrates that. To demonstrate your secret to weight loss, tell the story of how it has worked in your life or someone else’s. To write a novel, don’t veer from your story, your plot. To explain some arcane principle, use an analogy, a story. In short, if you are writing, stick to your story.