Posts About Writing & Speaking

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“Pit of Despair” Stories (9/3/2019) I watched Jannie Kruse give a short talk on “labels.” She talked about the categories we put ourselves in—how we label ourselves based on our upbringing, and about her stern and abusive grandfather. To make her point, she stuck a series of “Hello, My Name is…” labels to her blouse upon which were written the […]
Avoid the Data-Dump Doldrums (7/22/2019) Data-dump presentations are guaranteed attention-killers. Information is important, but storytellers make that information meaningful. Add PowerPoint slides full of tables and tiny type to create a particularly excruciating audience experience. The following statements are true. The description is accurate. But something’s missing. WordPress is a content-management platform used to drive over seventy-five-million websites. Written with […]
Hobbyist or Professional? Be the Best in the World. (6/24/2019) Hobbyist or professional? True professionals dedicate their lives to being the best in the world at whatever they do—not some day, but today—every day. Not try, do. I have played guitar almost every day for almost forty years. I play a variety of styles, have performed for paying audiences, know a good selection of jazz […]
Pace Your Prose With The One-Sentence Paragraph (5/13/2019) Search for “one-sen­tence para­graph” on the In­ter­net and you’ll mostly find ques­tions about whether writ­ing them is even an ac­cept­able prac­tice. The one-sen­tence para­graph is not only legal, it’s a use­ful and pow­er­ful lit­er­ary de­vice for writers and speakers. One-sen­tence para­graphs are com­mon when short pieces of di­a­log are being ex­changed, but con­sider the ef­fect […]
Thoughts on Clichéscliches (2/26/2019) Since time immemorial, clichés have sneaked in the door when we least expect them to. They’re low-hanging fruit for writers who abscond with them quickly instead of striving for excellence. But to the trained eye, writing clichés stick out like a sore thumb. Authors of this day and age who struggle under the yoke of […]
Reading Aloud Doesn’t Have to Be Boringreading aloud (1/29/2019) Keep your lis­ten­ers’ at­ten­tion while read­ing aloud. The host an­nounces the next au­thor. She walks to the lectern, of­fers a syn­op­sis, and be­gins read­ing aloud. It’s not bad prose—and I can’t say that for every writer here—but after three pages of pref­ace and an­other six of chap­ter one, I fan­ta­size about ring­ing a gong and […]
Storytelling Tips: The Rush of Discoverystorytelling: rush of discovery (1/15/2019) Storytelling tips: You’re walking along and you happen to look down. “Hey, that’s not a scrap of paper; that’s a $20 bill!” Isn’t it a rush when something we thought was useless turns out to be meaningful. Stories—whether they’re truth or fiction—are powerful tools for connection and engagement—as long as you craft them well. The […]
Sea Stories: Do You Trust Your Compass? (10/30/2018) Do you trust your compass? Finding your way in life, business, and traffic is a challenge. The easiest way to get somewhere without getting lost is to switch on the GPS. But too many people never know the joy of leaving sight of land with a compass and a paper chart. Only then can you […]
Storytelling Straight Talk: Humility Kills Conviction (10/20/2018) Leaders write and speak with conviction. Bold writing is not arrogant. Readers and audiences know that your words are a direct extension of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences. Don’t talk about yourself at the expense of offering value to those receiving your message: I believe that we all want to communicate with authority and […]
Sexual Harassment – Rewriting the Storysexual harassment (10/2/2018) Is sexual harassment a problem, or a symptom of a larger, deeper issue? The answer depends on the stories we use to define and discuss it. Challenge: Write a story about sexual harassment. Use fictional avatar characters. (If you call real people out by name, you’ll threaten them and they’ll stop listening.) One more thing: […]
 
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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®