Five Reasons Your Stories Put People to Sleep

Most of us know what goes into a compelling story. Relatable characters, dramatic conflict, high stakes …

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Photo by Christi Merrill


About Rob Biesenbach

Rob Biesenbach is a communications expert, actor, author and public speaker. He is a former VP at Ogilvy PR Worldwide and press secretary to the Ohio Attorney General, among other positions. He is also a Second City trained actor who has appeared in more than 150 stage and commercial productions. He brings these worlds together in his workshops and book, Act Like You Mean Business: Essential Communication Lessons from Stage and Screen, published by Brigantine Media.
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8 Responses to Five Reasons Your Stories Put People to Sleep

  1. maryfollowsthelamb says:

    Thank you for the tips.

  2. Of the no-nos on this list, tangents are my weak point. I do a lot of free writing, so I tend to stray from my outlines. Although I agree they’re not as entertaining to readers, sometimes I get usable ideas from them. 🙂

    I also find the proper names tidbit interesting! That’s a good point…your readers don’t need to know every specific name and title, only the ones relevant to the story. I should go back through some of my stuff and make cuts.

    • Jill, I have a friend who defends to the death her embrace of tangents. But she’s talking about stories from her day that she shares with a friend over coffee. So I would agree that for some forms of writing — novels, perhaps — and storytelling, some richly detailed COMPELLING tangents are okay. Especially with an indulgent audience of one good friend.

      And for free writing, of course, I would imagine anything goes, right?

      Regarding names and titles, when I’m reading news stories I skip over all of those, which can mean half a paragraph. I’m so bad with names anyway, so when someone’s telling a story and names everyone, even a “character” who appears in just one sentence, I get impatient.

      Thank you for commenting!

      • Very true! Although, what I’d consider a compelling tangent may be mind-numbing drivel to someone else, so I’ll just have to be careful. Free writing is my favorite exercise because sometimes words flow out without my knowledge, and then I look back and wonder where in my brain they came from. 🙂

        P.S. You’re most welcome!

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  6. RudeeG says:

    I think the most important thing you can do is ask yourself these questions and put them in your blog. How, when, where and why. This will keep your reader interested. So many writers go off on tangents and then you ask yourself what’s the point.

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