Here’s a short story that can help all writers in our search for content.
My friend Evelyn Amaya Ortega posted this photo of her 8-year-old, Bella, on Instagram and Facebook with the following caption.
She planted the seeds. She waited patiently all summer as the plants grew… And grew… Getting taller and taller. This week, the flowers bloomed. #Happy
More than 150 people liked the photo on Facebook, including writer Karen Rosen who astutely noted, “That is a perfect 24-word story with illustration. It should be in a magazine.”
Short story has everything
I agree. Evelyn’s short story contains all the elements of a narrative. Character, location, conflict, rising action, climax — even a sweet denouement.
And it shows the power of brevity and precision.
The next time someone tells you he doesn’t have enough material or space to craft a story, show him this.
In business writing, the same holds true under the content-marketing definition of story.
The image and text are compelling, engaging and emotional. They could hold the interest of customers looking to buy flowers, seeds, tickets to a summer camp or even in a Public Service Announcement about good parenting and spending time with your kids.
Keep your eyes open
Writers are supposed to be trained observers. But even the best of us can sometimes miss what’s right in front of us.
What can we learn from Evelyn’s example? Was it just a mother’s pride that made her want to share this short story with everyone? Or was it her journalist’s eye kicking in?
Look at that face! That smile!
That’s a story, by any definition.
I keep Bella’s triumph handy whenever I need reminding that stories are everywhere.
It’s our job to record them and present them as clearly, succinctly and powerfully as possible.
Just like Evelyn did with this.