How storytelling can enhance non-fiction and engage readers

Talk to anyone working in communications these days, and they’ll tell you how important storytelling is. Basing your message in a story engages people, helps to share your ideas more clearly and can be more convincing for your audience.

I recently read two books that illustrate the power of storytelling.

First was Please Don’t Bite the Baby (And Please Don’t Chase the Dogs) by Lisa J. Edwards. This book is very much a how-to for dog owners and new parents. However, it’s rooted in the real story of Lisa and her husband adopting their son, Indy.

Each chapter includes statistics about bites and child injuries. There are also training tips and lists of exercises to practice with your dog. These elements are typical of what you’d expect to find in a non-fiction work. However, by basing the how-to manual in her own real-life experience, Edwards is able to more clearly demonstrate her recommendations and share the value of her approach.

The other book was The Possibility Dogs: What I Learned from Second-Chance Rescues About Service, Hope, and Healing by Susannah Charleson. In this book, Charleson traces the evolution, uses and value of service dogs, through her work with her own pack of adopted rescue dogs. Charleson also uses a variety of case studies–stories of people and their dogs who are confronting a variety of challenges–throughout the book to show the diversity of services dogs are providing.

Charleson also shares some of her own struggles with mental and physical challenges, making the story intensely personal.

Both The Possibility Dogs and Please Don’t Bite the Baby are informative, helpful books for people interested in learning more about dogs and the roles dogs play in our lives. By basing their books in stories, Edwards and Charleson connect deeply with readers, and readers come away remembering the key lessons of these books.

Do you have a story you’re looking to tell? Contact 129 Communications to find out how you can build a connection through storytelling.

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