The Power of Written Storytelling: The Middle: Adding Flavor (Part 4)

This is the fourth part of a series of posts about writ­ing a story. (Again, when I write the word story, I mean a true tale, non­fic­tion). Here, I will dis­cuss what I mean by flavor and how to add it to your story.

Spices and tea!

Adding some flavor to your story is just like adding spice to your soup! You need to add just the right amount. (Photo credit: Clyde Robinson)

“I like the sound of boom, boom,” firework maker Reach Ravuth said.

This is flavor. Flavor is that creative little extra that’s added to the story to show (not tell) readers a detail they wouldn’t get otherwise. It’s usually not necessary to tell the story, but it’s vital to make the story spicy. It makes it come alive. That Reach Ravuth likes the sound of fireworks going off shows you a bit of his personality.

He also says he’s not afraid of having an accident. Perhaps because the $250 a month he gets from making fireworks is good money. Perhaps because he was a soldier in the 1980s so he is still full of bravado, or perhaps because of his long experience with fireworks. He says he weighs the ingredients carefully and takes his time.

When I see flavor in a story I’m excited. It’s what makes the story sizzle. As a storyteller you have flexibility over what you decide to include. The same story could be told differently depending on who is telling it.

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