When people ask me about my favorite writer I tell them about an eBay Listing for a Subaru. The seller was down on his luck, uneducated and unemployed, his car selling on eBay to make mortgage payments on his house. His motorcycle would be his only transportation thereafter. The listing he wrote on eBay remains one of the best pieces of writing I’ve read, beginning with his first sentence, “… I bought this car brand new in Oct. 2002, and have driven it carefully, though sometimes quickly, ever since.” His story goes on like a memoir about a lost lover from times gone by: “I’ve driven this thing through absolutely ridiculous amounts of snow, no problem. Snow to the headlights? Plow it with the front bumper. Plowed into a parking space? Select reverse, engage clutch. Road covered with wet leaves? Drive as if it’s a sunny, dry day …. For a while there, it was doing the work of a pickup truck, and on several occasions got me out of spots from which big 4WD pickups were failing to extract themselves. Seriously, I once got up a hill that a plow truck couldn’t get up.”
Good writing is rare. Humorous writing rarer. If you’re not funny, nostalgia goes far with readers and will make up for lack of experience or talent. Remember, facts are boring and good story telling has nothing to do with a college degree. The best stories are ones that provide facts riddled with contextual heart-felt stories that support an argument.
When new bloggers approach me with the question of what it takes to write a good story, I send them the below template:
The first is the introduction, in which you introduce YOUR ARGUMENT while capturing the reader’s interest. The introduction should always include a FUNNY, NOSTALGIC or CONTROVERSIAL anecdote preceding your stated argument that concludes this introduction: “Some people think …. but they are wrong because ….”
The second is the body of the article, which supports your argument with at least 3 FACTS that are linked to other pages on the Internet. (You will need to provide these URLs in parenthesis). Your facts can be based on scientific studies, a story that happened to you or someone else, or on some expert opinion offered (include a URL) by somebody. The body of the article should be interesting and told in a logical manner. This is where you’ll often see quotes.
The last act of your feature is the conclusion, in which you pull everything together. The last line of your article should be something clever and concise.