Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that’s not the oldest way of telling stories.
Really, stories began with cave drawings and people talking…presumably around a fire. And I’ve been thinking about this oral version of storytelling a lot this past week, because I just got back from a three-day boot camp on speaking. The theme I heard over and over again at the event: storytelling.
Businesses focus a lot of energy these days on telling their stories, but that’s not enough. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to tell more stories…not the story of your business alone, but illustrative stories. For example, let’s say you’re a therapist. If you’re giving a talk about dysfunctional relationships, why make it a big information dump? Instead, tell a story about the power of “bad boys” (or “exciting” girls for a talk to men). A story with an example of a person, rather than a case study, will engage and drive home the point much better.
Dragons and Divas
So what does this all have to do with Game of Thrones? Not much at first glance, I suppose. But it’s on my mind today because the past couple weeks, I’ve finally gotten on board the GoT bandwagon. (Ironic, I know, now that the series has nearly run its course.) If you know me, you know I’m not a genre guy. I don’t typically go for fantasy or romance; I love the real-life stuff that makes up dramas, literary fiction, and so on.
Now, I hope people who are into the GoT series will actually pick up the books at some point, just because I want people to read more. The reason I bring it up in a blog post, though, is to focus on the importance of storytelling on the show. I have peripherally watched the series out of one eye, while my wife has been totally absorbed by it. And to be frank, I find long battle scenes to almost always be boring – the monotony of the violence, the soul-numbing aspect of man’s bottomless inhumanity to man. So I never got that into it.
However, I did pick up on a few major storylines, especially those involving the would-be kings of the north, south, etc. And last week, I watched most of the show because the stories of Cersei and Daenerys drew me in. Watching the confluence of events as we approach the endgame proved interesting enough to keep me entertained.
And last night’s episode continued the endgame, with a battle scene that was not only well-directed but also managed to avoid being overlong or monotonous. In short, these two episodes were masterly stories, which probably explains why people are already posting things like “best episode ever” online.
What about you? Do you have a story to tell, whether in your business or a fictional one? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.