Have you ever wondered why people tell stories? Why people read them? What’s so special about them that we’ve been producing and consuming them for thousands of years? There’s just something about a good story that people love.
The appeal of stories is universal. Every culture has them. Every age group. Even every person has their own unique story. Being a storyteller is one of the greatest aspirations known to man, and many of us are drawn to it; whether through writing, art, or music. I think it’s because we sense its power, but do we really understand it?
The Power of Words
Even though there are other forms of story, few are as acute as that of the written one. There’s something about the written word that is spectacular. Beautiful. Resonating.
Words are so meaningful. We often say that as an obligatory caution to children when they hurt one another with their comments. We scroll by quaint quotes about the topic on Facebook. It’s rare that we actually stop to think about the true power of our words.
As an author, one of my favorite things is sitting down to write and coming up with exactly the right word. It’s absolutely exhilarating. (I have occasionally fist-pumped at that moment of victory. Don’t judge.) It’s like finding a diamond in a coal mine.
When we use our words to create a story, we harness, for a moment, their magic.
The Magic of Story
Stories are absolutely magical. That’s not a word I use often, but it’s true. When we hear a good story, we take notice. Good stories move us.
There’s something about being transported to another place and time that allows us to see life in a fresh way. To experience struggles and successes through the eyes of another person. There are things that can be shown through story that would not be revealed any other way.
— Emily Tjaden (@emily_tjaden) July 1, 2015
Great stories possess four incredible powers:
Stories are a fabulous tool for the communication of thoughts and ideas. Putting truth through that new lens is often one of the best ways of telling it. This was demonstrated by Jesus when He talked to people in parables. God Himself uses story to communicate.
Entertainment is an important factor in good stories, and I won’t discount it. It’s one of the things that makes them so powerful. When an artist captivates their audience, they have a chance to communicate with them. When their audience gets bored, that chance is gone.
Great stories connect with us. We look at them, and we see ourselves. We see the truth of humanity within their pages. As a storyteller, you have the ability to make that personal connection with your audience—a connection that could change their life.
Lastly, stories are powerful because they inspire us to become better, stronger people. The best stories aren’t just good, entertaining communication; they are challenges. They implore us to take up the call and be a hero. Our hero of our story.