How To Edit Your Stories (Part 3) — BWSS #4!

 

When putting together a story you want to tell, what stays and what goes??

This is often the thing we struggle with the most in storytelling! If you’ve listened to or read the transcripts of How To Edit Your Stories Part 1 and How To Edit Your Stories Part 2, then you’ll know that:

  • You need to ask yourself, “Why do I want to tell this story? What will be different as a result?”
  • Most of your story should be made up of ‘action scenes’ (granular, real-time descriptions of scenes)
  • You need to pick 1 — 4 action scenes for each story
  • How to create those scenes

In today’s episode, I show you how to pull those scenes together to make a coherent story! Listen to it here:

 

Or read the transcript below.

Have you tried this yet? Or can you see how other people (whose stories you’ve read/heard) do or don’t do this? Had a ghostly barn experience of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Thanks so much for reading! If you know anyone else who you think would like this series, you can share it with them using one of the round buttons below. You can also find all the BWSS so far here:

yesyesmarsha.com/bwss

and on my scrappy iTunes channel HERE, on Soundcloud HERE and on Stitcher HERE.

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

 

PS want even more tips and advice plus secrets and stories I won’t put on the internet? AND my guide for the magic bullet to powerful storytelling? Come and join the Yes Yes Family — for FREE! — just pop your details in here:

Transcript:

So you know what you want to say in your story. You have some really compelling action scenes. But how do you stitch it together? You give enough context that people know what’s going on without putting too much information in.

This is the Baby Walk Story Series, which right now is coming from inside this giant barn. I’m on vacation and I’m hiding from the wind so it’s not too noisy and the barn is making noises where either there are rats in here or there’s a ghost. So if part way through this you hear me saying, “Ahh! Don’t touch the baby!” — who’s on my back just now — then… I don’t know. Send the Ghostbusters. Maybe too late.

 

If you listened to BWSS number one, two and three, you know that first of all you need to ask yourself, Why do you want to tell your story? What do you want to be different in the world as a result?

 

You know that storytelling is all about picking action scenes, these compelling scenes that you’re going to tell in somewhat granular detail. I talked to you in episode three about how to choose which action scene you have and now I’m going to talk about stitching them together.

 

So I mentioned in BWSS two that when you’re telling a story, you’re making a movie inside someone’s brain. So you want the movie mostly to be action scenes. But if the story spans any length of time, then you want to use montage and voiceover to stitch them together.

 

So by those two things, I mean either context or a little bit of opinion. Honestly you don’t want to have too much of that in your story, opinion and judgment. I’m going to talk about that more in a later episode. Commentary. What you want is just reporting. What happened? Then what happened? Then what happened?

 

So in terms of how you get from one action scene to the next, what you need to do is ask yourself the question. We talked about this in the action scene one. (I say we. It’s just me. The baby isn’t really inputting much more than sneezes and the occasional “Wahh!”)

I talked about how you want to ask, “What am I trying to get across?” That’s how you choose your action scenes and that’s the same in terms of how you choose the bits between the action scenes.

 

People don’t need to know every single detail. So what you want to ask yourself is, “What do I need to tell them in order for this action scene to make sense?” So, say what you’ve decided your story is about is the time when you decided to do a kind of audio course/podcast while you were out walking with the baby. And what you want to get across is: “Don’t sit around waiting until you have a lot of time in a fancy podcast studio. You could just do this on your phone walking around while you’re in the country in a scary barn.”

 

So then what do we need in terms of context? Maybe for me I’m going to have an action scene of me making this podcast. We can have an action scene of how it becomes the most successful thing in the entire world and I win loads of awards. That’s in the future from now. ((It’s probably not going to happen. That’s fine.))

 

But how do we stitch them together? So OK, we’ve established what I want to get across — “just do it. Don’t wait until you have the fancy studio.” So maybe I’m going to talk about all the times I thought about doing podcasts and I don’t need to go into every single one of those scenes in detail. I can just say, “I had a podcast and there was a while where I was thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to make it about this. I’m going to make it about this.'” Maybe I’m saying, “Every day I would go to my desk and I would sit there and think, ‘Now will be the podcast!’ But then something else would come up.”

Do you see how I’m not going into great detail? I’m just giving you a little picture. That’s a kind of montage.

Maybe I will say, “For two years I thought about doing it.” That’s voiceover.

I’m not telling you about all the other stuff that was going on there. Like how I ran some workshops, I worked with some different clients. This has to do with my business, but you don’t NEED to know it.

I’m not telling you everything to do with my business. I’m just telling you the information that you need to know in order to understand what’s happening in those action scenes.

So maybe your story is about, I don’t know, how you almost drowned one day. What we need to know is the stakes of that. Obviously there are some pretty high stakes in almost drowning. But if you don’t know how to swim, maybe you montage all the times you thought about learning how to swim, but then you never did and then suddenly you find yourself in the river. Then we jump into the action scene.

Maybe your story is about how almost drowning totally changed the way you conduct your relationships. So you don’t need to go into every single action scene with every single person but you can say, “Over the course of the next two years, I started spending much more time with the people that I love.” — that’s voiceover.

Or you could say, “Over the course of the next two years, I started spending much more time with the people that I love. I would have tea with my grandma. I would go visit my uncle in his work shed. I would have lunch with my best friend every single Monday.” — that’s montage, little flashbulbs of pictures.

 

So do you see how those are different from the action scenes?

We’re not going into very much detail. The first version I gave there was voiceover. So I just said, “I spent time with the people I love.” I didn’t give you any pictures. The second version gave you some little pictures but not too many. But I also didn’t talk about all the other stuff going on in your life (eating dinner, working, etc etc).

 

To review, when you have picked what your action scenes are, the information you have to give in between them to stitch those together (to talk about the chronology of what happened in your life between them), just think, “What do people need to know in order to understand the action scenes and in order for me to get across what I’m trying to get across?”

 

Thank you. This has been really fun and look, I didn’t get attacked by ghosts. So yay! All right. I will speak to you on the next one of these (which you, dear transcript reader, can find here!).

 

Thoughts? Experience? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!!

 

xxyyMarsha

PS want even more tips and advice plus secrets and stories I won’t put on the internet? AND my guide for the magic bullet to powerful storytelling? Come and join the Yes Yes Family — for FREE! — just pop your details in here:

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