In elementary school we usually learn that every story has a beginning, middle and end. In middle school we add multiple paragraphs to the stories we write. High school brings an extended vocabulary or “descriptive words.” By the time we reach college, if that route is chosen, character development is better and we write with the intention of reaching into someone’s life. An author can set up a story with foresight, hindsight or in the present moment. Lead characters often remind the reader of someone in real life. The story’s setting can take a reader to a place they have been or one they could only dream of seeing. I have heard it said that a good story intertwines with the readers reality, leaving a reader wondering how the characters lives are carrying on after the story ends.
To test my quick story abilities I took a stab at writing:
Looking at the small calendar on the dash only made it worse. She was promised a huge party for her 19th birthday. It would have been the second birthday party she ever had. The realization that this birthday would be her first away from home was too hard to bare. Tomorrow would come and go just like the last ten months had. Leaving behind thoughts of cake with family and friends, she pushed on with her daily tasks. The progressing day erased thoughts of the celebration that could have been. A steaming horizon showcased the setting sun as she turned into her driveway. Drunken with tiredness she headed toward a shower seeking some relief from a long day and a renewed sense of birthday sadness. Turning into her dusty room brought a smell of new found familiarity. A smell most of her friends would not understand but one that gave her a sense of safety and for a lack of a better word, home. She took in the sounds and smells of her surroundings as she headed toward the shower. Her mind wondered how the evening would be different if she were back home. She quietly hummed an upbeat birthday song to herself as she headed back into her room. As she neared her bed she notice a large package waiting for her. Her normally steady hands shook as she opened the package. It was filled with small birthday gifts. Tears filled her eyes and her face flushed as she opened the card she found inside. She read the words several times and let them fill her heart, “Happy Birthday to my American Hero. Love Mom.”
After about two minutes of writing I have a fairly good “quick” story. It has all the aforementioned parts. I concocted it after looking at a facebook post about a solider being deployed near his birthday. Great story but more importantly (for this class) is the comments it generated. Ah! Social media in action! It’s like a super hero or community building. There are unassuming people all over the world browsing the internet and BOOM a few simple lines are posted about solider being deployed a few weeks before his birthday. Those two lines create a story in all of its readers. An even greater story is created by the thousands of comments that follow.
In social media, story lines are easy to find, just check a highly trafficked post. Insert your own feelings and relation to that story. Then you can invite the masses. As an author it is always best to respond to people (although that is usually my downfall) and to not be too flowery. I tried to find some tips to help me in my social media journey when it comes to “telling the story.” Hopefully they will help someone else.
How to Master the Art of Storytelling to Increase Social Sharing