We all know how exciting it is to be engaged by a compelling story! But trying to explain to your children what makes a story good can be difficult. Today on Home School Heartbeat, host Mike Farris and storyteller John Erickson talk about the elements of an effective tale.
This week, we’re really thrilled to have John Erickson on the program with us. He's the author of the Hank the Cowdog series. He joins me now—John, welcome to the program!
Hi, Mike. We’re a homeschool family and admire your program.
Well, thank you very much. John, one of your most recent books is a nonfiction work called Story Craft, in which you talk about your vocation as
“writing good stories for people who need good stories.” Your Hank the Cowdog stories are certainly really popular—but what do you mean by good stories?
Mike, I view writing more as a craft than as art. Craft uses structure to achieve function. If it succeeds, it might also be art. A good coat fits, a good meal nourishes, a good house sheds water. A good story should make us laugh or cry, it should impart wisdom, coherence, and hope. It should reveal the beauty of God’s creation, and find justice in human experience. I think it’s a reasonable expectation for art to make people better than they were before they encountered it. If it doesn’t, then what’s the point?
That is an excellent description, John! I’m really glad to have shared that with our listeners. I’m Mike Farris.