How to tell a good story

I’m taking a blogging break this week, but here’s a little something: Ira Glass of the radio show This American Life discusses the elements of storytelling in this series of videos from Public Radio International.

Glass is speaking of nonfiction, particularly short nonfiction for broadcast. But the principles apply in long-form nonfiction and fiction also.

I’ve embedded the first video; if you click through to YouTube you’ll easily find the others, but I’ve also linked to them below in case you want to jump to one part of the series. Speaking of which, if you only watch one of these videos, make it Part Three, which contains an important message for anyone in a creative field.

In Part One, Glass talks about the building blocks of stories.

In Part Two, he talks about trying stuff out and being ruthless enough to cut what doesn’t work.

In Part Three, he talks about why creative people go through a phase in which we feel our work isn’t good enough…and why we must press through that feeling to succeed.

In Part Four, he talks about two common mistakes made by newbies in radio and TV. If you think about it, they probably apply to speakers and writers also.

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