// you’re reading...


The Magic of Story-Telling p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give some samples from old books. Many of these have been more or less forgotten, but they still have a lot of juice left in them. In some cases, they’re better than anything that’s come out recently. 

This issue features The Magic of Story-Telling, which was a 1971 book by Clifford Warne. It was published by ANZEA, which was the Scripture Union in East Asia, based in Sydney. The book was designed for “writers, teachers, entertainers and preachers”. The author argues that the best way to make a point sink in is to tell a story.  This 68-page paperback is a gem for people learning how to write and tell stories. Good luck ever finding a copy, though.

Mr Warne writes: The entertainment business is mostly built on this fact: watching someone face trouble fascinates people. This is why we like stories… A story must have a person with a problem; one main character who solves one main problem.

He said there are three types of story and that you should learn to identify them.

He writes: There’s the accomplishment story: a person struggles to solve a problem or achieve a purpose. Accomplishment stories are popular with audiences of all ages. They like to see someone struggle against strong opposition and get what he wants. David’s struggle to bring down the Philistine giant is an accomplishment story. So is Nehemiah’s struggle to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When the explorer sets out to find the lost city, when the Mountie rides off to get his man, when the cop starts to work out whodunit, there’s an accomplishment story. So accomplishment stories show a main character struggling to overcome all opposition until he gets what he wants.

The second type of story is the decision story: a person struggles with forces for and against, which influence his decision. When the judge has to decide guilty or not guilty, when the girl has to decide between the rich old man and the poor young man, when the hero chooses between liberty and death, there’s a decision story. Decision stories show a main character struggling to make up his mind.

-continued next page