How to use fiction writing to create compelling corporate stories

The satisfaction we get from reading a good novel often boils down to three essentials: an engaging opening, entertaining plot and likeable - or, at the very least, interesting - characters.

Authors who achieve this trifecta often find themselves on bestseller lists, and one could argue the same can be said about brands. Companies who tell compelling stories often find their products flying off the shelves - and their employees (eagerly) spreading their message.

In the age of reality television and shows such as The Real Housewives or Jersey Shore, it's easy to get caught up in the over-the-top, fabricated storylines that promise dramatic tension and maybe a fight or two. Jill Pollack recently discussed this idea on Spin Sucks, arguing that this type of entertainment allows us to be lazy. It's a lot easier to tune out with the DVR than to tune in and focus on reading the works of greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald or Jane Austen.

But embracing the tension and plot twists delivered by writing greats such as Fitzgerald and Austen may be exactly what brands need. Rather than talking "at" consumers, Jill Pollack argues that brands should be telling stories "in which there is a problem to be solved or a goal that must be obtained." Give readers a reason to be reading or better yet, an opportunity to insert their own opinion or perspective, and suddenly you've developed an authentic relationship. You're no longer a brand hiding behind a wall of corporate formality. You've become the bestselling author, the household name - the company people are proud to display on their shelves.

It can be challenging to think like a fiction writer - just ask any published author and you'll realize it's a lot easier said than done. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right path:

  • Be choosy. When you have a lot to say, it's easy to overwhelm your writing with detail, jumping from one subject to the next and ultimately confusing the reader. Think about what you skip over when reading a novel. More often than not, they are the big paragraphs with far too many descriptors and adjectives. Leave those out of your work.
  • Make readers think. You don't want the reader to forget about what you've written the minute they finish. Give them a story that causes them to ask questions and ponder the answers long after the last page. It doesn't mean you have to drag your story out - you just have to give them enough information to inspire further conversation.
  • Use tension to your advantage. All good stories have some sort of struggle or obstacle to overcome in order to reach the finish. It could be an internal transformation or an external conflict between characters. Whatever the issue, don't be afraid to explore it in your work. Just ensure that you keep it as honest as possible - too much drama screams insincerity, and readers will pick up on it immediately.
  • Be your own worst critic. When in doubt, edit it out. Though you should always write your first draft without worrying about spelling or grammatical errors, go back through with a keen eye the second time around. Tighten paragraphs by removing unnecessary words and strengthen arguments by keeping your main points clear and concise.

Channel your inner fiction writer and make your stories worth reading from beginning to end. If you trust your own creativity and imagination, then your readers will soon follow suit.

6 comment(s) for “How to use fiction writing to create compelling corporate stories”

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    I also remember the quality as like engaging opening, entertaining, and likeable when I written a good novel. Thank for this article. This article help for all new author who are want to written good story.

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