Sunday, January 17, 2016

Forget the facts, tell me your story!

The world of science and the world of the arts seldom overlap but here is a great quote from cognitive scientist Roger C. Shank that connects the two:

"Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories."

I spent many, many years as a professional persuader, also known as a salesman. During my career I saw some of my colleagues talk themselves blue in the face going over the facts and details of their products to no avail. Those who could tell a good story describing how the items they happened to be selling would help the prospective clients almost always got the sale. Everybody has to tell stories to get through this world, we writers are just a little more honest about what we do than the average individual.

If you need help telling your stories, be sure to keep checking the Ligonier Valley Writer's website ( ) for upcoming events and classes.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Creating an Empathy Machine

I was listening to a radio interview with John Landgraf, the CEO of the cable network FX. He was talking about the importance of story in building an audience for his company. The show's host asked him how he defined what constitutes a "good" story. I really like he answer and believe that it not only applies to TV scripts but to any good writing. Here is what he said,

" A story is an empathy machine that allows us to see the world through the eyes and minds of others."

I think this succinct statement is as good a definition of a good story as any I have read. We writers are the mechanics who build "empathy machines" to help others see the world from a different perspective.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch for the Ligonier Valley writers.