Friday, September 23, 2011

Sheer Genius: Great Storytelling Doesn't Have to Use a Lot of Words

Pulling out a Golden Oldie (with updated thoughts) today because I'm a bit swamped with getting ready for tomorrow's pre-launch party. It's a reminder that great stories don't have to be epic.

Anytime someone says you can't tell a whole story in a few words, tell them about this commercial. It's brilliant, and shows that you can do a heck of a lot with a heck of a little if you use the right words.

It's also a fantastic example of showing, not telling. The plot of this 60 second tale is so clear, never explained, but you get exactly what is going on by the questions asked. They show it, you make assumptions and get it. And it's touching.

When you watch this, think about what isn't being said. Look at what's suggested and how we surmise what the situation is. What our own imagination brings to it.

Then think about how you can bring this same technique to your own stories.


  1. This is so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  2. That's excellent! I've literally got goosebumps! So beautiful!! And yes, as you said, very well done with very few words :D

  3. Isn't that awesome? I just loved this.

  4. It really is a terrific example of showing, not telling.

    I wonder if you'd have posted the video without any explanation we would have made the connection?

    Great little post, cheers.

  5. Thanks - loved this!

  6. Janice, I'm guilty of making this excuse when it comes to this.

    But I tried. MORE than once.

    I still keep trying.

    But I'm not a natural at short stories and I don't feel ashamed to say that

    Jealous? Yes, since there are more outlets for short pieces, but I've never devalued their importance or worth, but I don't think I write them well, and no amount of tweaking seems to help.

    Yeah, I know, Yet...

    It's really hard to say 'Yet' when I feel like I've spent years never getting there.

    But I think we need to remember that there's more to storytelling than just how long or short something is.

    If I always had to worry about how long something is, I'd never finish anything, seriously, and I'll never learn to be better by letting fear rule me, am I?

    Very few of my stories can be read in one sitting. But I still have to work hard on them to be great reads, if not a fast ones.

    I still had to refine and shape every story I've ever written. Not all of them were novel length either, but they're also not the "500 words or less" kind of stories most magazines would want anyway, and that's why I've never felt the kind of reverence and ecstasy people often say they feel about short stories.

    I don't say this(only)out of envy, nor am I complaining ro blaming others for my weakness in this area, I'm only stating a fact that's true in my case, though many would disagree with me. They'd make no bones about telling me so.

    Still, I beg everyone, seriously, remember, long isn't always "long-winded."

    Maybe I'm just taking this too hard. Sure not the first time...

    But I don't want anyone else who feels torn about this matter to feel alone. that's why I've said what I said.

  7. I remember laughing out loud the first time I saw this commercial. I love how creativity seems to pop up wherever people are doing things -- whether it's art or advertising.

  8. This is such a wonderful example, Janice! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  9. This commercial puts a smile in my face and a small giggle in my mouth. It's good at showing the subtext well, especially when the text switches from "long distance relationship advice" to "jobs in france", or something like that.

  10. CO, that might actually be my favorite part. You see the decision to move right there.