Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Six little words

red and white baby girl booties with flower motifsImage by Funky Shapes via Flickr
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn"

Last week Carissa Bub ran a KIN Masterclass on 'Journalism Skills for Knowledge Sharing'. One of the exercises demonstrated the art of succinct story writing (rather than story telling). We were asked to pen a tale of only six words, chosen from a list of only one hundred.

We quickly found that the maxim 'less is more' is perfectly true. What to leave out? What's the narrative? And most importantly, the question every editor asks; 'so what?'

'Lunchtime gossip; wrong friends, no job" was my meagre effort.

My reason for participating was that I intend writing some new KIN case-studies and wanted to learn how to communicate more effectively using the written word. I suppose that should be the typed word.

By the end of the day even those responsible for communicating dry, technical stuff saw how stories can engage rather than just convey. For example, what's the story behind the change in policy?

In case you were wondering, the 'baby shoes' story was written by Ernest Hemingway. When you stop and think about the nuance of those six words, the man was a genius. Have a go yourself and you will see what I mean.

Here are a couple of good websites on storytelling using six words:

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