Monday, July 30, 2007

How to Build a Compelling Story

From one of the 40 blogs I read on a daily basis, Angela Booth's Writing Blog...

I'm a fan of "one minute" fiction. These are short stories of around a thousand words or less.
These short fiction pieces make a great change of pace for your journal. If you're new to fiction, here's a fast way to structure a story. This works for short stories of course, but you can also use it in an extended form (keep adding complications) for a novel.

Here’s the Quick Story Structure:

• Introduction

• Complication

• Consequence

• Relevance

The Introduction is the setup, the "engine" that sets the story in motion. A static situation changes, as when a man wins the lottery, or when a wife discovers that her husband is having an affair, or when someone is fired, or whatever.

The Complication makes a bad situation worse. If the man wins the lottery, he can’t find the winning ticket. Cluster or free write 20 complications. Force yourself to think of 20, and don’t stop until you've reached that number.

The Consequence is what happens as a result of the conflict that's created from the Introduction and the Complication.

Your story must have Relevance. It's the theme, whether it's love conquers all, do as you would be done by, don't take anything for granted, etc. You should know what your story's theme is, but you don’t need to state it explicitly.

A prompt for your one minute fiction

I give my writing students short prompts to kick start their one minute fiction. Here's a prompt students enjoy:

You're on a crowded commuter flight. You're on your way to give a presentation to tender for a contract. If your company doesn’t get the contract, it will be forced into bankruptcy. The person next to you is a talker. You need to work. You...

Write around 500 words, telling us what happens next.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Your Role Determines Your Effectiveness

From my Personal Leadership Insight blog...

My business partner, Jonathan Smith - Professional Speaker, Author, and interview coach for hundreds of successful communicators (including the last two Miss Americas), has identified three primary roles people choose when they open their mouth to speak in front of a group.

1. The Speaker - Their focus is the performance. Over time this focus demands perfection. This need for consistency and perfection too often kills authenticity and blocks their credibility.

2. The Educator - Their focus is the information. The information is king. This need for quantity of information creates attention fatigue and disconnects the emotional side of the exchange.

3. The Communicator - Their focus is the transfer. The goal is simply to take what is in the communicator's heart and transfer it to each audience member's mind. Seth Godin says that all communication is a transfer of emotion. Whatever it is you need to accomplish, don't let your need for perfection or a bad case of information overload prevent you from being effective!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 Masterful Communication Links

On my leadership blog ( I have links to my almost 300 links. They are organized by the ten Personal Leadership Insight Essentials (Vision, Integrity, Innovative, etc.) The group that is the largest is the Masterful Communication group. Go to this link to directly access these 65 links dealing with every aspect of how to communicate better...

Rhett's Masterful Communication Links