1. “Inside the Story: A Masterclass in Digital Storytelling by the People Who Do It Best” edited by Adam Westbrook || If you want this book you’ll have to get it soon: It’s available as a download until midnight London time on May 24 (that’s tomorrow). All proceeds from the book go to Kiva. “Inside the Story” is divided into 25 one-page chapters, each written by a well-known digital storytelling practitioner. Brian Storm of MediaStorm — which has produced stories for many NGOs and nonprofits — writes this about the importance of having time to tell a story well: “…we spend as much time as necessary in post production to pull the best possible story from the coverage. Essentially, we don’t publish until we don’t know how to make a story any stronger.”
2. “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott || Lamott is such a treat to read. She’s funny in a warm and endearing way, like someone you’d want to be friends with. “Bird by Bird” is about writing and becoming a better writer. It’s also about Lamott’s son, Sam, and life and faith and jealousy and relationships. She really makes me laugh. Here’s a great passage from the book:
I think that if you have the kind of mind that retains important and creative thoughts–that is, if your mind still works–you’re very lucky and you should not be surprised if the rest of us do not want to be around you. I actually have one writer friend–whom I think I will probably be getting rid of soon–who said to me recently that if you don’t remember it when you get home, it probably wasn’t that important.
3. “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life” by Donald Miller || What happens when two film producers decided to create a movie out of your memoir? You realize your everyday life doesn’t have much of a story arc — and you take action. At least, that’s what Miller does: he falls in love, bikes across the U.S. and starts a nonprofit. This book made me want to go out and do something. Miller writes:
If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation. If I got any comfort as I set out on my first story, it was that in nearly every story, the protagonist is transformed. He’s a jerk at the beginning and nice at the end, or a coward at the beginning and brave at the end. If the character doesn’t change, the story hasn’t happened yet. And if story is derived from real life, if story is just condensed version of life then life itself may be designed to change us so that we evolve from one kind of person to another.
What books do you recommend for becoming a better storyteller?