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Capture the essence

Whether you’re gathering stories about your family, community or business, what matters most is capturing the essence of the story, capturing the core of it with as much clarity that you can. Anything more than that is just a bonus, really.

Zahmoo provides a safe place to capture, keep and comment on your stories and story-fragments. Yet in most cases you’re unlikely to publish direct from Zahmoo itself: you’d more often re-use the content in another form, another medium. So unless you want to do so, you don’t need to capture every story in perfect classroom prose.

Often just a small set of dot-points will suffice: you can always polish it up later if need be. All you really need in your story-bank is enough to help you remember the story, and help others remember and re-use the story as they need.

As we’ve seen in previous posts here, key points to capture would include:

  • the players, the actors in the story, their respective roles
  • the place and other context for the story
  • the events, the structure and sequence of ‘what happened next’
  • the triggers that make it more of a story: “something unexpected happens”

Watch also for the small details that matter – the things that seem somehow to suddenly stand out from the background, and help to make the story more memorable.

But beyond that, relax! You’re not in that old classroom now: polished perfection may be important, but that comes later down the line. Concentrate first on capturing the essence of the story, the parts that matter most in making it a story to remember.

(Thanks to Shawn Callahan for suggesting this topic.)

Image credit: Schoolklas begin jaren ’50 / Dutch classroom around 1950 by Nationaal Archief under a Commons (no copyright restrictions) licence.

January 25th, 2012 by Zahmoo
Filed in: For Business, For Community, For Family, How to
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Zahmoo is a story bank for collecting and sharing your family and business stories.