Many writers, and readers, wonder: what makes a good story? There are several answers, and none of them are wrong or bad. But the key is simple, tell a story that means something.
Ira Glass posted a 4-part video series explaining his idea of good storytelling. In the first part, he explains that what you learned in high school is rubbish. You have the anecdote and the moment of reflection. Now, will this work in all types of writing? Maybe not. But, you will notice that stories you really care about, regardless of its format, will contain a series of events that touch you in some way, followed by some reflection.
In the second part, Ira states that people don’t seem to realize that finding a good story is just as difficult and time consuming as shooting and editing the story. Once you find a good story, you then have to work to keep it good. Not everyone is going to interview well, or tell the story in an engaging way. So then you have to use your skills to either keep the story interesting or know when to drop it in the trash.
The third part of the series, Ira flat out says that as a creator, you are going to produce stuff that sucks. The bright side is that you will know it sucks because you have good taste. This is why you started your venture in the first place. He explains that this phase is natural and you will eventually rise above it. He even plays a recording of a story he reported when he was 27. Yes, it sucks. The story was interesting, the delivery was not. His advice? Keep going. Keep writing. Keep reporting. It’s the only way out.
Finally, the last part of the series Ira gives his big announcement. Be yourself. Corny right? Maybe, but it’s the truth. If you’re going to be writing, reporting, some sort of storytelling, then be yourself. Don’t imitate someone else, the world already has one of those. It’s YOUR unique outlook that is missing. Talk like you would normally talk, it helps the audience feel more connected to you. Write in a way that isn’t stiff and formal, no one wants to read that.
This man knows his stuff. He’s won awards. Yes, everyone is different, but this is a great way to start your journey on the road of storytelling.