CreativityEngaging Culture

Is It Time To End Our Obsession with “Story”?

Story schmory. Yes, stories are important. Yes, stories fill a need. Yes, stories are a critical way of sharing information. Yes, stories go back to the beginning of time. Yes, there’s a reason story based programs are the most popular on network television. But can we just take a break from our obsession with stories?  We have story events, story small group resources, story books, story blogs, story networks, and much more. But aside from just getting tired of seeing the word everywhere, I wonder if our obsession with stories is actually making them less effective?

Check Twitter bios and you’ll find that just about everyone is a “storyteller.” I already dealt with that here. Not everyone is a storyteller, and not everyone tells stories, and that’s just fine.

Stories are important. You can’t be an effective communicator without understanding their power.

So let’s just get about telling them, and stop talking about telling them.

Thanks for letting me rant.

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15 Comments

  1. I’kk go even further- stories are not neccesary for a great film. The Tree of Life had no story (that I could discern) and yet it was an amazing EXPERIENCE. Movies can be experiences as well as stories. Think your wedding, your baptism, a roller coaster, your first dip in the ocean, your fist kiss, eating watermelon on a hot day, narrowly missing a car crash, finding an old friend of Facebook-these dont have “stories” behind them. And yet they are some of the most powerful things in life.

    1. Well I think these moments you speak of are stories. If you look at them they all have the basic points of a story a character(s) to identify with, action and a message that is derived. It might not be everything we learn from creative writing class but they are stories nonetheless. Perhaps these slice of life experience can be the new story. Because people find them more interesting than some of things playing at the box office.

  2. I don’t think story is going anywhere, we may change the way we tell them, but as a means of communication, stories work best. Experiences are good, but afterward, all that’s left is the story you tell others about that experience.

  3. Yes, there has been a lot of ink and digital space spilled and filled about “story” ad such. One exception needs to be made to your point. If 70% of our Bible is made of up stories, then it is something we cannot be lackluster in. If so, we are weak in knowing our Bible and living it. It is not even so much about communication in this case as it is having a faith that makes sense to ourselves as a people of faith.

  4. Maybe you are having an occupational overload as an analyst/commentator. Out here, I’m extremely frustrated by the sound-bit (smaller than byte) media cult-ure.

    1. I’m sure “proximity” might be part of my frustration. But I do see it everywhere – particularly where people are capitalizing on it as a business. I don’t even have a real problem with that, except there’s just so much of it. I think it’s why “writer’s conferences” are so popular. ANYTHING is better than actually doing the hard work of writing… 🙂

      1. Oh I see and you are right. You want less talk more action, steer the conversation to the actual stories and not just “story.”

  5. It’s definitely a buzzword right now that’s being overused. A while back it hit me when I realized that for decades good work has been telling a story of some sort. It most recently came in the last 5-10 years when the popular (and rightly so) advice to give was “let every piece you do tell a story!” That’s when “storyteller” went from a job at bedtime to a word on a resume.

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