What Makes a Good Story?
By Hunter Cardinal
Hello, folks. It’s Hunter, Director of Story, here to talk to you about the best stories. My role just took a very literal turn. Say what?
December is when we enter the winter solstice and can now see the constellation ‘Wesakaychak.’ It’s also a time where we withdraw indoors and take a few moments to reflect on ourselves, the year, and tell stories. Traditionally told to youth, storytelling is a way to connect us to our place and each other. As Dr. Joe Couture - a pivotal figure in Indigenous activism, scholarship, and leadership - writes, ”It is through repeated Elder teaching that one comes to sense the wisdom of the Indian Way."
Storytelling has always been a big part of everyday life.
With the invention of books and the press came the necessity of storytelling as way too connect to each other. Then with the invention of the internet, we began to look at storytelling in terms of online traction. It’s no longer for the news and for journalists. Everyone and anyone has the ability to practice the art of storytelling through digital media, blogging, and - surprise surprise - everyday interactions! For as old of a practice that storytelling is, nowadays telling a story really well is one of the key ways to make yourself or your business stand out. But not everyone knows how to start their story and continue telling it well. Here are three storytelling tips - inspired from Indigenous thoughts - that I use to help with marketing, public speaking, and even ordering coffee!
1. Find your “Why”
The most important part of storytelling is what the story is about on the deepest level - and that will come from you. Keep asking yourself why the story has meaning to you and for others. Keep asking until you have broken down the important aspects of the story and have answered this question.
2. Create an Outline
Find out what is crucial and what isn’t based on your “why.” This is an opportunity to see your story from a bird’s eye view, Break up your story into its major parts.
3. Mix it up
This is when you have all the parts of the story in front of you and you can change their order around. This is important because it focuses you on your “about” and lets you alter the story and its structure to serve that purpose.
We are all capable of storytelling. But what does it take to make a really good story? It needs to be important to you and needs to show the most important parts to your audience. As our elders say, “it is up to you” and “you have all the answers within you.” These are the two sides of the valley through which the path to a good story meanders.
You already know your story. All that’s left is to find the why and pass on your wisdom.