How to Add Suspense to Your Stories and Dramatically Improve Your Content

How to Add Suspense to Your Stories and Dramatically Improve Your Content

Reader Comments (18)

  1. Great read Sean. I’ve watched that Ted talk several times (got a little choked up a few), but I’ve never made that association to drama-infused writing. Very cool.

  2. Great read. You know, in a way I know this stuff, and have implemented it in life before – mostly for my own creative ventures – but I completely forget it when it comes to my role these days as a content creator (not just for me but for my clients).

    I’m making this a must-do approach in upcoming projects – so, thanks!

    • I find the greatest danger is:

      1) About “I know this stuff”. I make this mistake all the time, and then I have to stop and ask myself—isn’t there more depth to this “stuff”. When I’m quiet, I hear a lot more and can implement a lot better.

      2) The application: Just because it is used in one place, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. How can I apply it in watercolours, just as well as in music, as in sales or podcasts? The applications are what matter and porting the concept across is what I have to do—or I risk becoming like the idiotic side of me that says, “I know this stuff and I’ve done this stuff”.

  3. Sean, I really love how you break the “story telling” down. This is very helpful, not only to me, but I know to others as well.

    I have been in sales, very high end sales, for over 10 years, and I used “story telling” or what many call “story selling” almost everyday for those 10 years, and although I do try to use analogies in my blog, I don’t know why I never thought to really incorporate “story telling.”

    I have always considered myself a great salesman……and not because I was your typical salesman all “pushy” or “aggressive,” but because when you sat in front of me, I genuinely wanted to solve your problem/challenge and provide great value to you, regardless if you bought from me that day or not. And I used a many analogies and stories to allow my customers to understand where I was coming from.

    It sounds like I need to get back to my roots and start writing like if I was sitting in front of someone face to face back in the office.

    I look forward to more,


  4. Very interesting! Very true as well, I read much faster and more intently when there is suspense in the story – I can’t help it. Excellent advice, thank you for writing this. I need to try applying this to my blog writing in the future. I don’t do as many stories, but this is very inspiring to put more into my writing.

    • Stories are what hold the attention. After a while, information becomes tiring. Notice how fidgety you get after even 12 minutes of pure information. That’s because information is a lot of to-do, more to-do and you get lost. It seems like it’s interesting but your brain goes into lockdown. The story gives your brain something interesting, entertaining, and also a break. If you look at the link to the podcasts (at the bottom of the article), you’ll find I use about 4-7 stories per episode. That’s over 300 stories in the podcast alone—per year. Then there are books, articles, presentations etc. Storytelling is magical. Use it more!

  5. Thanks! Really understanding the mechanics of good storytelling is critical to doing it well. There are so many important elements – it’s really hard to do well. Thank you for breaking this one down.

  6. This was an inspiring post. Thanks for the examples and the video is really fun! I like applying the same techniques in writing and music. The similarities are often over looked. Thanks, Sean!

  7. Good stuff, Sean.

    All too often I end rushing to get to the CTA without slowing things down. A good reminder that pacing and suspense play critical roles in selling and story telling.

    (A quick note on your Phelps story, his filling up with water happened on the 200m butterfly, not the 100m butterfly race in Beijing. He also didn’t get a WR in that particular event, the only time he didn’t in the course of winning 8 golds, and 7 WR’s at that particular competition.)

    • Hmmm, that’s weird. I must have got the facts wrong. Shows you that reading two books and endless articles on Phelps —and you still have to check to make sure.

      I didn’t know which event he participated in, or won those medals, so I got the information off the net. But even so, I needed to check several sources to see whether there was any discrepancy.

      So thanks! 🙂

This article's comments are closed.