4 ways to boost your storytelling magic

Voice. Metaphors. Hooks and endings. Learn from narrative master Justina Chen.

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They were immediately hooked, recounting racist incidents they had faced. Chen had engaged their attention, she says, but the emotion was all wrong. She was connecting but not inspiring. She retired the stories about Australia.

We all know that storytelling carries power in communications. But how to find the right story—one that doesn’t just grab people’s attention, but matches the marketing efforts, the data and the facts?

“What I ask myself is, “What do I want my reader or my listener to think, to feel, to do?'” Chen says. “I firmly believe, after working with so many leaders, that if you can move people’s hearts, you can move their minds and their feet.”

Here are a few tips:

1. Echo your hooks in your endings.

Like journalists with ledes, authors spend an inordinate amount of time writing the hook—the opening of a story or book. That’s because to sell a manuscript, you have just two minutes to grab an editor’s attention, Chen says.

But writers tend to pay less attention to the kicker. To give your work emotional power, echo the opening themes or images in the conclusion.

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