HELPS PROFESSIONALS TELL THEIR LIFE STORIES
A memorable story, says biographer Rix Quinn, requires three
things: a person, a problem, and a purpose.
Quinn discovered this while working as a national business magazine
writer. "Many of the people we interviewed were successful
business founders," he explains. "But I wanted to find out their
life interests, and the major reasons they chose their professions."
Over some 20-plus years, Quinn saw that memorable true stories had
much in common with timeless fables by Aesop and the Brothers Grimm.
Quinn, who holds degrees from Texas Christian University and
California State, also undertook a quest to determine a story's ideal
length. What is it?
He says it's about 250 to 300 words. And, he says, the story
must teach a lesson, or convey a purpose.
"Look at some classic tales. 'Three Little Pigs' is about 210
words. 'The Little Engine That Could' is 211 words. 'The Boy
Who Cried Wolf' is under 150 words. The Tortoise and the Hare' is only
Quinn's applies this formula daily in his work as a business
biographer. Through trial-and-error, he's compiled a list of 103
questions to help almost any business construct a Personal Portrait to
emphasize its specialization.
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