Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Gift of Story

My favorite thing to do around the holiday season is to curl up with a great story. Winter seems to lend itself to it -- bathrobes and wassail and Christmas cookies... and books.

To me, it's a great gift to be able to read certain stories over and over, personal classics, and also to find new ones to add to my canon. So, I love to give books and films as gifts!

There are four types of stories (as discussed in Tell Me a Story by Daniel Taylor):

There are four types of stories: bent, broken, whole, and healing.

A. Bent stories portray evil as good, and good as evil.  Such stories are meant to
enhance the evil tendencies of the reader, such as pornography and many horror
books and movies. The best decision regarding Bent stories is to avoid them like
the plague.

B. Broken stories portray evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins.  Something is
broken, not right, in need of fixing.  Such books are not uplifting, but can be very
inspiring.  Broken stories can be very good for the reader if they motivate him or
her to heal them, to fix them.  The Communist Manifesto is a broken classic; so
are The Lord of the Flies and 1984.  In each of these, evil wins; but they can be
very motivating to because people often have felt a real need to help reverse their
messages in the real world.

C. Whole stories are where good is good and good wins.  Most of the classics are in
this category.  Readers should spend most of their time in such works.

D. Healing stories can be either Whole or Broken stories where the reader is
profoundly moved, changed, and significantly improved by his reading

Remember, that as writers, we have the incredible opportunity to create and give the gift of story--a story that can delight or even ignite change in the heart of the reader. So write your gift today, and offer someone the healing power of your story. You are needed to help someone through her day...or her life!

Write on!
Amber M


  1. Fantastic post, Amber! Thanks for reminding us of the importance of story, and the importance of telling the truth about good and evil. Our culture IS the stories we tell each other. I always want to find the best stories and share them with everyone.

  2. This was indeed a fantastic post. Thanks for inspiring me to struggle on. Sometimes I get lost in trying to make my story perfect and forget that none of my favorite books are perfect, yet they still move me. They are gifts. Hopefully mine will move someone someday.

  3. It is true... I wrote this post to remind myself that it is not about a "perfect" story, a clever plot or fantastic world, but about connecting, person to person, one to one, through time and space, using the written word. It is magical, really.

  4. Amber, I remember as a child when I read "The Cay" by Theodore Taylor. It was such a simple but profound story that moved me. I've read it over and over through the years and still get the same reaction. I realize now that it was both a Whole and a Healing story. As an avid reader and a writer, you always wonder what that magic 'it' factor is that makes a classic last through the years, even with all the cultural changes, and this is the answer. Thanks for your sharing what you learned from "Tell Me a Story". I'm going to read it!


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