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Some time ago I wrote a short story about a guy moving a boat. Really it was a story about overcoming entrenched thinking, and how small nimble companies can change the status quo.

It was pretty well received, so I've thought about writing a book in the same setting where the young man that moves into the entrenched and old fashioned fishing harbour gradually overcomes the old by using his wit and outlook and eventually ends up owning and running a fishing fleet.

I've spent quite some time thinking through the plot, and I can tell you that creating and telling a great story that also conveys sound and interesting business advice is extremely hard.

You can read the original short story here: http://www.maximise.dk/moving-a-boat/




I've spent quite some time thinking through the plot, and I can tell you that creating and telling a great story that also conveys sound and interesting business advice is extremely hard.

I'd say it's impossible.

What is possible, at least in my experience, is to start with a good story - i.e. characters, a plot, a series of interesting interconnected events - and let the meaning of those events shine through. I've never managed to craft a story around a message - the message always emerged from the story.


If you drop the word "business" from "business advice," at least, it's not impossible. Fables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fable) and parables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable) are both types of stories that are built around making a point, and there are examples of both that have been good enough to still be popular thousands of years after they were first written.

I would say that it's harder to write a great fable or parable than it is to write a great example of a general story, though, because the structure of being built around an Important Point makes it easy to slip into preachiness or didacticism. You have to work extra hard to make the rest of the story not sag under the weight of the lesson.




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