There once were two storytelling brothers, Lem and Clem. Lem was a true storyteller to his core. He could take the most ordinary event, like a trip to the grocery store, and weave it into the most interesting incident you’ve ever heard.
Clem, on the other hand, though, also a spinner of stories, yarns really. He’d over exaggerate to get his points across—so much so that he came to be known as too fantastical to be believed.
Lem loved telling stories about common, everyday people his listeners could relate to while Clem, his younger brother, believed that making his characters larger than life resulted in a more entertaining tale.
Lem was always “in” his stories in one way or another, but never to the point where he was the focal point. His purpose was always to allow the donor or prospect who was listening or reading to understand the need. His stories would tell you how he was feeling, but the story was never about him. For example, “I was colder that night than I’ve ever been in my entire life, but I knew there was a good reason for doing this.”
Clem, on the other hand, because of his embellishments, came to be known as untrustworthy. People who listened to him knew not to take him as seriously as his brother. His stories were too implausible to be true.
The point in this tale of brotherly storytellers? You can only tell an amazing story full of bigger-than-life events so often. Once your audience figures out that you’re more of a dream weaver than a truth teller, your stories may be listened to because of their entertainment value, but not supported monetarily because there’s no core of truth that listeners/readers can invest their emotions and financial support in.
Eventually, people no longer came to listen to Clem—his stories weren’t deemed worth listening to.
What about you? What “checks and balances” do you apply to your stories to make sure they’re believable and supportable?