I just picked up a copy of Story Genius by Lisa Cron, and I’ve really felt inspired by the exercises she has included. While the questions below do not appear in her book, I feel like they fit her general emphasis on the importance of story. Here are three questions to ask yourself before you share your story with anyone.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing / Sharing Your Story
Why would anyone listen to your story?
Stories are ways to communicate deeper ideas, and they are only as compelling as the motivations that drive the characters within them. This speaks to the heart of one of the lessons I learned from the first pages Lisa Cron’s book. Good storytelling relies on solid emotional content, and our stories are only as good as the reasons why we are telling them.
While the content of the story enriches the experience for the reader, it is the context – the reason why – that makes the story worthwhile. I’m starting to think about the short fiction that I write, asking myself this question.
Why would anyone read the story? Having a solid “why” may ensure that your story is interesting enough to listen to, view, or read.
Is your story relevant?
Really knowing your audience is important, no matter what story you are telling. The way you frame the story for your audience matters. The emotion you reveal and the details you emphasize shape your story.
Being relevant means that you are telling the story to the right people, or that you are telling the story the right way to your audience. Every audience is different. There are cases where a story is told so well that it is universal. In that case, the story is always relevant. It may speak to a higher truth or part of the human experience.
A relevant story impacts readers. An irrelevant story is forgotten.
How will this story impact your reader, listener, or friend?
How you tell your story changes the impact it has on the reader. Are you trying to prove a particular point, or is your story a way to connect with someone? What mode of story are you using?
Sometimes stories share ideas that are meant to change the reader’s world. Other times, a story is meant to communicate an experience. But what are you communicating? What’s the point? How will your reader walk away?
I hope you enjoyed these questions!