Story in nonfiction writing
To show you how the story journey works in writing nonfiction books, let’s go on a journey with one of your clients. We’ll call her Mia. Mia has come to you for financial advice. Something has happened in Mia’s life that has made her realize she can no longer continue to manage her finances the way she has been. She and her husband have had their final argument over the family budget, and if they want to save their marriage, they have to get their finances under control. This is the inciting incident.
The story goal is to get their finances under control. But what they really want is to have a happy, satisfying marriage with less conflict. Her wound is related to her emotions surrounding money and how that is interfering with her marriage. Her backstory is there never was enough money growing up, and so her wound is that she has a scarcity mentality. Until that wound is healed, she and her husband will struggle with money issues.
But because you’ve been on this journey many times with your clients, you know the pitfalls, the dangers, and the rewards that await them. You’ve put all of this in a book that they can refer to during their work with you and after as they continue on their financial journey. You know if they come back to the information and lessons in the book, that they will have a great chance of getting control of their finances, and more importantly, getting on the same financial page with their spouse.
As you journey with your client, there will be ups and downs, progress and setbacks. You lead Mia and her husband through a series of exercises in your book that get at the root of the problem. Which leads to a big fight. At one point, Mia breaks down in tears and is ready to give up. She cancels her next appointment with you. She just can’t shake her fear of money, and she’s tired of fighting it. This is her dark moment.
But then she calls your office and reschedules. When you ask her what changed she says, “I went back through one of the chapters in the book you gave us, the one on mindset and money. At the time, I didn’t really believe it, but after everything we’ve been through and all that we’ve learned, I was able to see it in a new light. I truly—for the first time—was able to see money as a tool and not as representative of love or security.”
You nod your head and smile because you know she has found her epiphany. She and her husband will still fight about money occasionally, but you’ve given them the tools in your book that they can return to over and over again to work through their issues and move forward together.
Stories mirror real life
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because stories mirror real life. The brain actually can’t tell the difference. There are three key things the brain is looking for in each story:
· Everything must be there for a reason.
· Everything must tie itself to the wound in some way
· Everything must resolve itself in a reasonable way.
Harness the power of story in your books
So now that you’ve seen the power of story at work in writing nonfiction books, how can you begin to harness its power in your work? Start with the the free ebook, You Need a Book: Why you could be leaving money on the table. Or if you want to jump right in, look at my Services page or just reach out to me to see how I can help.
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