Three Essential Books For Storytelling (And How I Use Them)

Since this conversation has been had with a number of you over the past few months, I decided to make it a post and highlight how the three intersect. These books matter as much for writing a novel as they do for getting that pitch ready for your boardroom, talking up your youth sports team at halftime, or writing your best guy/gal speech for the wedding.

Here they are:

Impro for getting the ideas out of your head. You have to uncork your ideas and then actually let them pour out. This book will help with methods for “how” based on improvisational theater exercises.

Storyworthy for refining your purge once it’s on the page. This will help you understand the end, the transformation, and where the story needs to start.

Storygrid for structuring and editing the rest of your work. This is the technical overlay that makes sure you’re not making any basic mistakes or failing to build the tension or movement all great stories possess.

What’s great about these three books working together is that they also help with the drafting process. If a point isn’t working or is out of place, you may need to improvise a few things again. If an idea or character seems to be missing, you might need to look at the stakes created by the other characters and fill that void. The magic of the combination is they’ll help you find and fill the potholes.

Improvising, refining, and editing are the tools of the creative process. These are three books to come back to again and again.

In terms of medium, all three are available in print, but I’d recommend Audible for Impro and Storyworthy, and physical for Storygrid.

What about you? What books are your bibles? Reach out and let me know, I’m always looking for new books for the reading list.

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