A list is not a story

There’s more to a story than stringing a few words together.

Calling a memo, speech, mission statement or corporate sales pitch a story doesn’t make it so. Anything with a number in it is generally not a story (unless, of course, it’s a sequel).

‘Three secret ...’ or ‘Six reasons why ...’ or  ‘357 never before seen ...’ might be articles but they’re not stories. They’re lists. Which is okay. We all need lists. But never confuse them with stories.

A story is a narrative about something that happened to someone. A fact is not a story. The queen died and the king died is a fact. The queen died and the king died of grief is a story.

A story has a time, place, main character and tells something interesting that happened with (ideally) unexpected consequences.

To appeal to our brain’s subconscious, emotional decision-making centres we need to tell a real story.

In this age of distraction, a real story is the most effective way to attract and maintain attention.

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