The Building Blocks of a Great Story

Starting today this section of my blog will contain articles and videos that talk about how to create stories.

This post contains a series of videos on “The Building Blocks of a Great Story” by Ira Glass hosted on You Tube. According to Wikipedia, Ira Glass is “an American public radio personality, and host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life.” A simple Google search will reveal a lot more about him.

But this video series is not about Ira Glass but about what he has to say on the art of storytelling. So I’ll allow Mr. Glass to take over from here. ┬áSince Mr. Glass is a radio professional, his views are more applicable to stories broadcasted on radio. But the core of these principles, especially what he talks about in the first video, can be applied even to fiction writing or script writing for a movie.

Ira Glass on Storytelling # 1

In this video he talks about two very critical elements of a story: One, the sequence of events and two, the narrative introspection. In any great story there is always a healthy balance between the two. One needs to have a “sense of storytelling” to decide on the sequence of events in a story. Interspersed between the events should be the narrative reflection or introspection, the part of the story that makes sense of the events.

Ira Glass on Storytelling # 2

In this video he talks about the importance of content for a great stories. Its difficult to find the content that makes for a great story and the storyteller needs to be ruthless when it comes to maintaining the creative and structural integrity of his/her story. A lot of sacrifice goes behind creating a great story.

Ira Glass on Storytelling # 3

In this video Ira makes an interesting but very accurate observation about the gap between one’s taste for good stories and the kind of stories one is actually creating. Since I am currently working on a novel I can vouch for this personally. What I am writing currently is nowhere near the kind of novels I love reading and sometimes I do get into a depression. But as Ira rightly points out, perseverance is the key in such situations. Keep working on folks if you want to bridge that gap!

Ira Glass on Storytelling # 4

In this video Ira talks about two common mistakes beginners make.

Disclaimer: The views presented in the videos above are those of Ira Glass and may not necessarily concur with those of the author of this blog.


5 Comments to “The Building Blocks of a Great Story”

  1. Interesting. I agree that the basics of storytelling are the same, regardless of format: radio, TV, movies, novels, public speaking or just talking to friends. At the same time, though, there are clear differences between, say, storytelling and story writing and those differences are worth exploring.

    A good line of posts. Keep them coming.

    • You are right. There are indeed differences between storytelling and story writing. I am more interested in the later and in my future posts will talk more about it.

      Please do subscribe to my blog and if possible please post your story in this new section that I have started :

      I have just started this blog and hope to add lot more interesting content in it.

  2. I genuinely loved your article! I have been collecting glass for umpteen ages and yet learn new things everyday. Do you know where I could get hold more about this? I’m very interested.

    • Thanks Patricia! There are many videos on storytelling and writing on You tube. Also there are many interviews of authors there. I have 4 interviews of Salman Rushdie in my vodpod video list. Watch the interview in the vodpod widget in the sidebar of this blog. I don’t have anything specific on Glass, but if you want resources on fiction writing I will lead u on to the site of a great guy who specializes in fiction writing. His newsletter have been very helpful to me.

  3. I hope this isn’t too blunt, but I was questioning if it could be achievable to complete a guest post in your blog? I really need the visitors and would even be willing to spend you for such a exchange.

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