Storyteller supreme

The ancient writer Aesop wrote tales that (1) began with a single character (usually an animal) faced with (2) a conflict — or villain — creating the problem. They ended with (3) the problem solved and/or (4) a lesson learned (“moral” of the story).

What’s the secret of these early stories? (1) a captivating first paragraph that presents a dilemma, (2) a main character continuously faced with choices, (3) building of tension as story’s resolution nears, and (4) a logical ending.

We writers MUST remember this because:

The average American reading level is 7th or 8th grade. Many top novels are written at the 7th grade level.

About 14% of the U.S. population cannot read. They must obtain information from other sources…like TV and radio.

So we must constantly remind ourselves that brevity counts! The average local TV news story today averages only 41 seconds. The average movie scene is only 90 seconds. Radio ad lengths with the greatest recall scores are 60 seconds.


Published by

Rix Quinn

Rix Quinn is a former magazine editor and now a syndicated columnist for over 100 weekly newspapers. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University and California State University.

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