Six words will rivet the attention of anyone who reads or hears them. Here they are: "Let me tell you a story." Many "story experts" say we are hard-wired to deliver our full (and uncritical) attention at the very prospect of hearing a story. It's genetic. To survive, we developed a reflex to blot out all else to hear stories. This was particularly important when all wisdom (including information about how to survive) was passed along in spoken form. The good news: It works in writing, too. There's nothing like a story to get people engaged in reading what you've written. Stories aren't hard. They're the most natural thing in the world. Every time someone tells you about something that happened, you've just been told a story. The key to making stories work is to make them lively and relevant to what your reader is interested in. Use visual descriptions. Use dialogue, instead of paraphrasing what someone said. Describe feelings, both positive and negative ones. And don't forget about beginning, middle and end. Some people begin halfway through their stories so you have no idea what they're talking about; other people get off-track and never finish the tale. Cheers, David