The beauty of a well-told story, regardless of the form it takes, is that it allows us to connect with readers on an emotional level. I’m always fascinated by the power a good book can have on me.
As writers, it’s our job to engage readers and deliver our underlying promise to inspire, entertain or educate readers. If we’re particularly skilled, we can manage to do all three.
The effort we put into improving our craft as storytellers enables us to weave a poignant story that connects with readers’ emotions and allows them to get inside the head of our characters. This connection is what keeps readers turning the pages, compels them to read our next book, and become life-long fans. It can also have the power to transform the minds and lives of readers.
Sound a little melodramatic? It isn’t.
Powerful stories influence the way we think, change the way we feel, and move us to action.
This can be true of both fiction and non-fiction. Reading a fictional tale about a woman struggling with her weight, self-esteem, or seeming inability to let go of the past and forgive herself can have a life-changing effect on the reader. The heroine might not be real, but if the story is well-crafted, the issues she’s dealing with are identifiable to the reader. Such stories provide impetus for us to examine our own lives, question self-limiting beliefs, and rethink our choices.
Readers can and do find inspiration in the journey of fictional characters.
A well-told non-fiction story can be extremely persuasive. Such is true of Half the Sky: Turning Impression into Opportunity. I hadn’t heard of the book before yesterday. But friend and fellow writer, Demetria Gray, posted a video by Marie Forleo which features the PBS documentary based on the book.
The book, the documentary, and the movement focus on one of the most critical issues facing the world: the empowerment of women. Husband and wife writer team, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wudunn, force us to examine this issue and convince us of its importance by sharing compelling, true stories of women around the globe being treated as second-class citizens, at best, and in many cases as completely expendable.
Watch the documentary. (Part II is viewable below through the end of today – October 9, 2012. Both Part I & Part II can be purchased on iTunes or DVD after today.) Read the book. Commit to taking up the cause of women everywhere.
Never forget the power of a well-told story.
Watch Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity- EP 2 on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.
For more information, visit the website HalfTheSkyMovement.org.