How to Write a Fast-Paced Story – part 2

Opening pages are like that road trip.

But there’s one huge difference.

While you were committed to arriving in Dunedin on time, your learners are likely to be less goal-driven.

Unclear directions make them turn around and click away.  And that’s when you might lose them forever.

What can you do to create a smooth journey for your learners?  How can you get them to continue your Modlette and find their happy place?

Let’s look now at the story itself again.

First there’s specificity.  You’re asked to imagine going on a road trip from Christchurch to Dunedin to attend a concert.  There are many specific details like the length of the trip; where you’re going, and what exactly you do to prepare.  These details make the story feel realistic like a real road trip.

Next the story has action.  We’ve narrated what happened.  You packed your bags, checked your tyre pressures and checked tools you might need to fix a break-down.  You also faced hold-ups like road works, discourteous motorists and a flat tyre.  As you’re reading, you may wonder whether you’ll get to the concert in time.

Lastly, there’s a purpose to telling the story.  It compares the exhausting road trip with the experience of learners reading the introduction to a Modlette.  The article goes on to explain how to make such a trip smoother.

Metaphors like this are powerful in storytelling.  They inherently bring an element of surprise, and they can also help make abstract topics (such as the introduction to a training programme) concrete by comparing them to concrete topics (such as a challenging road trip).

How to increase the pace

To write a fast-paced story, keep descriptions short and slow down the action to create a sense of drama; you add more actions.

Remember, action is broadly defined.  Thoughts pop up, silences drop, people shout messages … those are all actions too.

Challenge yourself to turn mundane statements into actions.  This is one of the most important skills of storytelling

Have fun!

Next week I’ll talk about insight stories … how to make your message stick.