In the marketing world, where I currently spend much of my work-week hours, “storytelling” has become jargon. There are so many marketing experts out there claiming to “help you tell your brand story,” “use storytelling to grow your business,” and “tell stories that attract more customers” — story had lost all meaning to me. It got lumped into the pile of marketing junk that I have to sit beside as a part of the marketing industry, but that I try to keep my back to as I help my clients in more tangible ways.
So when many of the sessions at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference last weekend focused on story, I admit I was skeptical. After all, most people can tell a story. If you can tell a joke, you can tell a story. Right?
Yes and no, it turns out.
Yes, story is native to humans. We are born resonating with stories and sharing stories. Stories are how humans have communicated, passed down knowledge, tracked our history, and taught our children since the dawn of time.
But in the context of writing a book, story takes on a much bigger meaning.
In a good book, story becomes more than just a beginning, middle and end.
Story is a transformation.
The story of a book transforms the characters. It takes them from their current reality to a new reality (usually a good one, but not always).
It transforms the reader, too. As we read, we go on a journey and we grow with the characters.
The story transforms us as it transports us into someone else’s head, someone else’s world. On the other side, our worldview is changed, even if it’s in a small way.
I’m glad I attended those sessions at the conference. It was a good reminder that storytelling isn’t just a marketing ploy — it’s an invitation to transformation.