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The Story Uses You

I'm a PK (pastor's kid). So for many years I resisted anything that smacked of churchy Christianity.

But stories could always circumnavigate my barriers.

Jesus knew this too–the story was everything. When he asked which man did the right thing, everyone knew it was the Samaritan. Story sticks in the brain and causes the hearer to rethink their ideas in light of what their minds can no longer deny.

That's because fiction or nonfiction, a story is its own proof. It either works or it doesn't. And when it works, that's something no other method (business, campaign, powerpoint, one-sheet) can match.

Without a story, nothing gets done. Good grief. Case studies abound. If you don't believe the best stories create an unstoppable force by now, it's time to get studying, my friend. For example–check out the video here too ("Unstoppable") Or here: poetry is apparently rocket fuel for brains (think poetry isn't story? think again) Or check out the power of "case studies," i.e. stories.

Your work may be many things. But when we all get home at the end of the day and tell our spouses about it, it's always a story.

Feel free (as I did for many years) to avoid the unbeatable power of story and go for something "better." Technology. Ads. SEO. Fun activities. A bunch of bullet points. A convincing blog post. Plenty of things can assist story. But there is nothing better than story.

It's always inevitably about the story.

As an editor, I urge people not to try to "use" a story as subservient illustration. It may work for some pastors and already-well-known business gurus. But you need to know a good story uses you. Defines you. Creates you. Show you accept this and your readers will respect you. If you don't have an unstoppable story of your own yet (and you probably don't), try to tell others' as best you can. Just be careful: be a user and try to profit from story and you will fail. The new rules favor a new sincerity.

We'll be learning more on the power of story all year with Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook at YourWritersGroup.com.

There are many ways to learn about story, so even if you can't commit to reading this book with us, do yourself a favor and engage your brain in a good story today.

See what you learn…

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