The Psychology of Storytelling

03 Feb

We writers are first and foremost storytellers. Makes no difference what the length (short story, novella, novel) or the genre (cozy, hard-boiled, YA, literary, romance), story is the key ingredient. Simply put: spinning a good yarn is a writer’s main goal.




This is not a new concept. Cavemen painted their stories on rock walls and sat around the campfire, sharing experiences that were key to survival. From these stories younger and less-experienced group members learned the techniques needed for hunting, protection from the environment, avoidance of predators, and later, after settling into communities, the skills needed for farming and animal husbandry.

Ancient religious texts are simply series of stories that reflect the teachings of the particular religion. Examples would be the Biblical accounts of the Garden of Eden, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Lot and his salty wife, and the travels and teachings of Jesus and his disciples. Each a lesson wrapped in a story. Other religions are built on and shared through similar stories.




Today, the ability to tell a good story is critical, not just to writers, but also to those in many walks of life. Educators, lawyers, salesmen, virtually everyone benefits from the ability to tell a tale. Here is a fun article by Gregory Ciotti on the psychology of good storytelling:

1 Comment

Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Writing


One response to “The Psychology of Storytelling

  1. elizabeth stokkebye

    February 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    So true! And I like to spin stories, both on paper with pen (kidding: laptop) and on canvas or board with brush and rags. 🙂



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