The art of storytelling
Bring your story to life
How do you make the most horrible people in your life, look like nice people in your book?
And WHY would you try to do that anyway?
‘What is your excuse?’ was my first book, written about the fraud and deception in the charity world. When I wrote it, I made sure that I portrayed the villains that were committing these awful betrayals as the bad people I knew them to be.
My publisher forced me to change that.
“The first time you met these directors of the big charities, how did you feel about them?” he asked me.
“Well,…” I had to admit, “they seemed like nice, normal people at first, but…” I was eager to explain what I had uncovered about them later.
“Don’t rush to conclusions,” the publisher insisted. “Take your time, take the reader on the journey with you, through your experiences and thought process, as you lived them back then” he advised.
Rewriting those characters was the hardest thing I’d ever done. It was tough to describe the first meeting with the three men that would give me nightmares for many decades to come.
It was hard to describe them as I had seen them when I was a naive, 28-year-old: friendly, competent, experienced… It was extremely challenging to dredge up the buried memories of the pleasant things they had said to me during that first meeting. It was confronting to write about how inexperienced I felt next to these impressive men that I had looked up to at the time.
But I realized it was the only path that I could take if I wanted my story to be coherent, realistic, and engaging.
Find the middle ground
Many writers struggle to bring their story to life. Either they splurge too much, too fast, or the build-up of their narrative is too slow, and their readers lose interest. Their characters and dialogues are not lively or realistic enough.
As I wrote and published more books, I learned to manage the pace of the story and to make my characters into real people, with both positive and negative traits. I also learned to liven up my story with direct dialogue and quotes.
Storytelling for authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs
Storytelling is not only for authors. It is also of vital importance to speakers, trainers, and other entrepreneurs.
I used to think that storytelling was only used in fiction books like thrillers or romances. Now I realize that it also has a significant impact on the success and readability of non-fiction books like (auto)biographies and business books. We can learn from both ‘crafts’. Fiction author Barbara shares her success story of how she used non-fiction structure techniques to give her storytelling more body.
Stories are everywhere and – when well told – they are the most valuable asset we have to engage and entertain our audience and to get our message across.
Are you serious about writing your book?
Don’t reinvent the wheel, like I did. As the author and co-author of more than 30 books, writing coach for hundreds of people and organizer of 20 writing retreats, I have finally found the best system for writing a good book: the ‘Reverse Writing’ method. If you begin at the end and create a good structure before you start writing, you will be able to follow your energy, instead of the page numbers.
Learn all tips & tricks in the live online workshop
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The book ‘Reverse Writing’
Learn my Reverse Writing method (start with the back cover) in my brand new, the super-comprehensive book ‘Reverse Writing’ and the companion workbook. You will find a step-by-step explanation, lots of examples, inspiration, and practical tips about writing, promotion, and publishing your book.
Original ideas and proven formats for your next bestseller
A successful book starts with a good idea. Check out the 10 best ‘formulas’ I’ve found for successful non-fiction books. Each of these ten proven formats gives you a different perspective, inspiration, and examples you can adapt for your own book. Subscribe to my ‘interested in writing’ list for book inspiration & tips and immediately receive the PDF with 10 ideas for a successful non-fiction book.