How To Write a Story in 3 Easy Steps

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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3 Easy Steps to Write a Story

Struggling with how to write that story for your next speech? Here is an easy formula that I use when I need to write a story fast.  I call it the Three Paragraph Method because it has three paragraphs to its construction. Brilliant title. I know.

Let me clarify that this is about writing a story to be used as a tool for impact and influence, not as a novel or a literary piece.

Before we start, let me make sure that your story is about something specific.  Listing facts does not a story make.  Stories are about something specific happening to someone. An instance. A moment. An event.  Telling me all about your mother isn’t a story until you tell me about the moment she did something specific.

Stories used a tool are used for a purpose. Know the purpose of your story. Why does the listener care about your story? What’s in it for them?

Before you ever write the story, you should be able to state in one sentence what this story is about. Then you’re ready to write it.

First Paragraph: Set Up

Give me context – when, where, main characters, etc. What do I need to know for the story to make sense? Only the details that are necessary to the story. Be intentional about what you share and why.

Second Paragraph: What Happened

Tell me what happened. Try to stick to the details that matter. The more you add, the weaker that story gets.

Third Paragraph: What Did You Learn From It

Tell me why this story matters to you. What did it teach you? How can it help someone else? What is the takeaway for the audience?

If you still feel like your story is kind of flat, add some details – sparingly like salt and pepper. Describe your main character (appearance, personality, perspective on world, quirks), and tell me how you felt in this story.  Stories are emotional. Don’t leave the emotion out.

And there you have it, a quick path to a story.  When you’re ready to take that story to the next level, join me at Story Crafting Camp!