Using Story in Your Non-Fiction

If you’re blogging or podcasting, writing an essay or giving a speech, you should consider including anecdotes, short interesting or humorous stories. What can anecdotes do for your non-fiction writing? Here are 4 things off the top of my head. Maybe you can think of more.

  1. They establish momentum. People love listening to stories. This is particularly why anecdotes work to open a speech or podcast. Get people listening early, and it’ll be easier to keep them listening.

  2. They can raise issues. An anecdote can show the difference between what is and what ought to be. This provides tension, conflict. It keeps people listening to you.

  3. Relevent anecdotes support your point. One moving story is worth more than all the hard facts science can muster. You have to know the facts, or else people will feel like you’re playing a shell game. But to get them on your side, tell them a story.

  4. Stories evoke emotions. Use an appropriate anecdote to evoke the feelings you’d like to see in your audience. Tell a funny story to get them laughing. Tell a somber one to make them cry. Tell a sad story to make them mad.

In short, include stories in your non-fiction to push it along and show your audience your point, rather than just telling them. “Show; don’t tell,” the storyteller’s mantra.



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