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How to Tell a Good Story from a Bad One

Telling stories…that’s what we do…thankful for my friends who tell me theirs with honesty and care.

Empty Nest, What's Next? Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind

Good stories tell about the intersection of desire (“subjective expectation”) and tragedy (“cruel reality”). A story begins when our desires collide head-on with reality. Sometimes reality is impersonal, like a storm that sets into motion a flash flood that kills nine kids on a bus going to camp. But other times the cruelty is volitional. Good stories demand tragedy, an “inciting incident.” And inciting incidents will always intensify our desire to listen to what the story is telling us – unless the inciting incident happens in our own story. Often, when it occurs in our life, we want the story to be resolved and the problem solved – and quickly!

We love stories as long as they happen to someone else.

Dan Allender in To Be Told

Last week I met with a friend who wanted some advice on a writing project she was undertaking. As we talked about…

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