Here's What Makes Stories So Powerful

by Joe Bunting | 8 comments

This guest post is by Brenton Weyi. Brenton is the creator of Orastories, a website that hosts oral storytelling by lesser known writers to bring them exposure to a wider audience. If you're wanting to share your stories with more people, this could be a great opportunity for you. To submit your own story to Orastories, go to their submission page. You can also follow Brenton on Twitter (@bweyi). Now, to the post!

“Once Upon a Time.”

These words are as familiar as “Hello.” As soon as we hear them, we know we are about to be transported to a different world.

But why is that? Why have these words been so ingrained into our very being?

Campire Stories

“And for the more traditional, we can still gather together around the fire and hear stories in their purest form.” Photo by Jared Tarbell.

The Uniqueness of Stories

I’ve always believed one of the most important intrinsic qualities that separate humans from any other living being is our ability to tell stories; to share the mundane, the painful, and the beautiful, in a structured, yet artistically varied manner.

Stories have been passed down from fathers to sons; from mothers to daughters. They inform us of how things used to be—about what our ancestors believed and how they acted.

But stories also do something else. They remind us, that no matter how the landscapes may change, we are all faced with the same issues in the struggle for personhood: issues of love, jealousy, power, and greed, of self-actualization, morality, dignity, doubt, and everything else that makes us so unimportantly significant.

And though we may never answer any of these questions, it’s just as important that they be asked, so that we can continually try to answer them—in writing, in oral tradition, in art—in togetherness. Stories are the threads that connect disparate individuals and make them friends, families, communities and so much more. Moments shared translate into bonds strengthened; both on pages and passed on through words that sow the seeds for new beautiful connections and wondrous possibilities.

There is a reason why in the ancient world, storytellers and orators were regarded as some of the most important people in society. They held the secrets. They shared the knowledge. Between their lips resided legacies and treasons. In their words we found ourselves.

A New Chapter

We have entered a new era of storytelling. Now stories can be shared through virtually any medium.

You can have thousands of powerful digital storytellers in your back pocket waiting to be called upon. You can go on a drive and be captivated by a new thrilling tale seeping through our speakers. And for the more traditional, we can still gather together around the fire and hear stories in their purest form.

But regardless of what technologies will arise, stories are all around us—as they always have been. This fact has compelled me to do what I do now: to be a writer and a story gatherer.

Your Story Matters

I’ve found that so many people in this world are under the impression that their stories don’t matter. That they don’t matter.

I’m looking to change that through a site dedicated to the impact of stories and to fostering positive life inspiration. In doing this, I’ve also started a podcast to showcase the best, most enlivening stories from lesser-known writers. If I am to succeed: I need your stories.

Being a storyteller means walking an unconventional path. But the people who walk it are able to empathize with nearly anyone, anywhere, any-when, who seeks solace in stories. That is power of storytelling. That is the immortality of the writer.

What truths will you weave? What lies will you spin? What story will you write today?

How about you? What do you love about stories?

PRACTICE

Think of a really powerful memory (finding your patronus not guaranteed). Got it? Now, imagine that this memory inspired the best story that would ever be told. Where would the focus be? Would you tell it exactly as it happened? What emotions would drive it? Think about these aspects are you craft your epic tale.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re time is up read your story aloud. You can read it to yourself or a friend—whatever you’re comfortable with. After reading it aloud, what would you have changed.

Then, share your practice in the comments section. And don’t forget to support your fellow writers; your support is what makes such a wonderful community possible.

Thank you for being the amazing writers you are. If you’d like to submit a great story, I’d love to share it on my podcast “Original Retellings.” Simply go to orastories.com for more information and to listen to the first episode.

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

8 Comments

  1. Kent Faver

    Thanks Brenton – powerful. I’m saddened this morning by the passing of Brennan Manning because his book Raggamuffin Gospel had a profound impact on my life. He was, more than anything, a great storyteller!

    Reply
    • brentonweyi

      He truly was! How did his book impact you, Kent?

  2. Patrick Marchand

    This is a, surprisingly accurate account of one of my childhood memories, when my mother would ask me to bring the garbage outside before going to sleep.

    The darkness was towering before me, engulfing my consciousness, where was I? Was this the porch of my home? Or the daunting frontier between sanity and madness? The nothingness of the forest before me confirmed the first, but some lingering doubt in my mind was enough to sustain the second.

    I grabbed the garbage bag besides me, full with the putrid waste of a modern family and with one last glance to the safety of my house lights, I pressed on into the damnable darkness. Each step on the dark, dirty ground that led to the garbage disposal felt like the wanderings of a blind man through a rickety bridge over a moonlit chasm. Gathering my courage, I leapt the last metre, onward to the smell of a thousand flies, feasting upon the remnants of our meals.

    « You will not get me! » I cried to the cosmic horrors that lay inside the forest. But that fleeting moment of bravado was for naught, since a slight shimmer in the darkness of the forest sent a shiver down my spine, with haste, I lifted the cover of the waste disposal and threw another sacrifice for the ever hungry flies and maggots inside.

    Then, with one last glimpse to the fear, I ran, ran, ran as fast as I could, ran to the safety of my house, for on my heels, there was a putrid scent, like that of rotting meat. From that scent, I saw red, hungry eyes, staring impatiently at their next meal, diseased slaver falling from its sharp, unforgiving canines and black fur, fresh from a bloody dyeing.

    As I flied up the steps to the house’s porch and finally reached the door, i thought I heard a savage snarl closing in on my horrified self but the lucky grabbing of the handle and the savage jerking of the door, cut it short and banished the creature to the depths of madness where it belonged.

    As I lay beside the closed door of the house, my sanity slowly takes its rightful place and my eyes rest on a slight sliver of putrid chicken that had fallen on my shoe.

    Reply
    • brentonweyi

      Patrick, that was some very powerful prose. I particularly liked “filled the putrid waste of a modern family” as well as the final line. I hope you turn that into a full story! Cheers!

    • Patrick Marchand

      Thanks! I have started working on my first short story, so any compliment I can get is great 😉

  3. yepi6

    thank you, those of you shared very good

    Reply
  4. Y8

    wrting is very hard. for my ability i find that read the story aloud is very effectivly. i can remember the main ideas. thank a lot

    Reply

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