Do Story: How to Tell Your Story so the World Listens
Originally published in 2013, this pleasingly concise guide outlines the ’10 Principles of Storytelling that will take your story from good to great’. The principles are all supported by profiles of activists, leaders and visionaries to whom storytelling has played a role in their career. From Winston Churchill to Barack Obama, as well as Steve Jobs and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who were added in a 2018 re-release.
Its author is Bobette Buster, a story consultant, lecturer and screenwriter who works with major studios including Pixar, Disney and Sony Animation. In this, her first book, she condenses two decades of storytelling expertise into a practical guide to telling powerful and engaging stories.
One core takeaway of the book is that crafting a good story is just as much about knowing what not to say, as what to say. “Today, part of the problem is that we have had our emotional radar dulled,” explains Buster. “We are less sensitive to the smaller details and feel we have to spoon-feed our audience. To fill in the blanks for them.” She believes that you should simply tell the story and leave the emotional impact to hang in the air, without justification or explanation. Instead of qualifying language, Buster suggests a storyteller should employ considered details such as GPS (time, place, context) and juxtapositions for a more compelling account.
But ultimately, all stories that connect the most have one thing in common — emotion. “Our audience longs to be moved,” says Buster. “We all long to connect. That is all.” So whether you’re trying to sell a product, share a company mission or entertain an audience, people are more likely to engage if a story has emotion at its core.