Tell Us More!

Sometime ago my husband and I attended a slideshow at the library presented by a couple who had gone on a trek in the Nepal Himalayas. One slide showed a Buddhist monastery where they had an audience with the Lama of Nepal, who had just ended a thirty day fast. The account was terse. “He ended his fast. We had to wait a couple of hours before we met with him. After that we hiked on to….”

Everyone in the room was left hanging, and the first question was about that interview. “What was it like? What happened? Tell us more!”

More recently I listened to a man read an account of his experience liberating a Nazi concentration camp in World War II. The account was factual and brief. When he finished, the questions were along the lines of “How did you feel about this? What was your reaction? Tell us more!”

Maybe none of your stories will be as spectacular as a personal audience with a renowned Lama, or liberating a death camp, but you surely have some of your own that could leave people on the edge of their seats if you don’t fill them in.

What do people want to know? Let’s take a look at the basics.
  • What happened? Fill in the blanks about details. The Lama story lacked any description of ceremony or conversation during the event.

  • What was your reaction? In both stories cited above, we had our own reactions, and wanted to know if our experience squared with those of the story owners. People want to know how you reacted, especially in intense situations, but also in lesser ones.

  • What were the long-term implications? In both cases people wondered how this had influenced the tellers’ lives afterward.
The Lama story and the Concentration Camp story were both told from the head. People sensed that hearts were involved, and they wanted to connect with the hearts of the tellers. Write your stories from your heart as well as your head to tell the whole story and fill the hearts of your readers.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

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