Telling and gathering stories
The Third Coast ShortDocs Challenge
The Power of Stories
A story is…
- is someone doing something for a reason
- builds tension
- has stakes
- has a beginning middle and an end
- has a hook
Ira Glass, Transom “What’s A Story?”
One simple way to test whether your story is worth telling on the radio is to tell it to your friends, and notice how you feel. Do you feel like you’re dragging through one tedious moment after another, always on the verge of losing their interest, and sometimes you’re not even sure what the story’s about or why you’re telling certain parts? Or are your friends laughing and buying you drinks and begging you for more details about the characters? When you’re done, does everyone at the table launch into an excited discussion of similar things that happened to them? Heed these signs. If you can’t tell the story compellingly to a friend, it means either you haven’t figured out what the story is really about, or much more likely it never will be possible to tell this story compellingly over the radio.
It pays to imagine the story you will find.
- “Reality Radio”
- NPR Style Guide
- Jessica Abel’s “Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio”
- “Telling True Stories”