Stories Part 2: Too much, too little, or just right?


Stories Part 2: Too much, too little, or just right?

Each of the one hundred case studies I wrote was difficult to write. You would think that the ones I personally experienced would have be easier than the ones I researched, but that wasn’t the case. I tried different approaches to make the process easier – from creating a detailed outline to writing quick drafts – but they all required many versions. They were all hard. 

“Just the facts ma’am.”

Initially, I omitted the organizations’ names, which made the stories impersonal, nebulous, and appear censored. It took months and expert feedback to realize that context is critical to learning, especially when presenting how organizations have managed change. 

Also, I struggled with how the reader might view these stories, seeing them as overall critiques of the companies instead of the actions that were taken at a point in time. I decided to make this distinction in my introduction.

Another challenge was finding the “sweet spot” between too much and not enough detail. Too much information bogs down the story and obscures its purpose, and too little makes the story unclear and dull. 

A Writer’s Nightmare

Expert editing has been invaluable to finding the right balance. Questions such as, “Does it really matter that the company has 5,327 employees?” and “So, who won the court case?” have helped me shape the final versions. I expect to revisit my decisions until the ink on my first edition is dry: Is it too much, too little or just right?

Phil
 
 

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