History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Telling a Story Another Way

Coastline maps for storytellingI recently learned about wooden maps of Greenland’s coastlines, made by the native inhabitants for storytelling rather than navigation. And while I’m pretty sure that most magazines wouldn’t let you submit woodworking as a short story, it does present an interesting lesson for writers nonetheless.

Sometimes, the trick to telling a story isn’t to change the story, but rather to change the way you tell it. This can be as simple as a switch from 1st person to 3rd person, or changing from one narrator to another. Or it could involve even more than that–telling a story that you thought was meant to be scary in a light-hearted way, or vice versa. Just changing up one little thing like that can make the difference between a story that works and one that doesn’t.

So if you’re stuck on a story, think of it in a different way. Draw it on paper (or carve it out of wood, if that’s your thing). And see where the new shape of it takes you!


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