I've always said that interesting stories attract tons of customers. Here are rules of thumb for how to make stories that draw people in.
First of all, details are a crucial part of any good story. For example, if I try to tell a story by just saying, "Someone made a mistake," it will be boring. No one would pay any attention to such a dull story. But everything changes if I put in some details, like this:
"One day, as I was wandering in a nearby shopping mall, a toddler ran up to me from out of nowhere and called me 'Daddy.'"
Now, the same basic story grabs the listerner's attention. It can be made even more interesting with more details. I could keep telling it like this:
"Then my girlfriend stared at me, asking suspiciously, 'Is there something you haven't told me?' Luckily, everything worked out fine when his real parents showed up and whisked him away."
When telling a story, remember: the 5 Ws and 1 H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How) are pretty basic, but they are definitely effective.
Besides the details, the topic of the stories can also draw people in or push them away. People are most interested in stories about other people. The example above is about people--me and a boy. If I had talked about, say, cars, then only people interested in cars would want to hear it. Another good example is the movie "Steve Jobs." It was about people--him, his colleagues, and his enemies. If it had just been about his products, then only computer geeks would have made the trip to the movie theater.
Finally, stories do not have to be true. Keep in mind, though, that it should be obvious that your fiction is fiction. If you tell fictional stories as if they were true, you will definitely pay for it later. Make sure you tell people if you made a story up.
© April, 2014