September 19, 2017

[Example] Start Your Story in the Action

I’m part of a mastermind group who meet online twice a week.

Last week a question cropped up: should you start a story chronologically at the beginning? Or should you start in the middle of the action, and loop back?

Before I could answer, Luke Szyrmer replied with an example of a story he created working through my Nurture Email Mastery course. I ‘ve reproduced it in full below. (The colour coding is a technique we use in Nurture Email Mastery to highlight the highs and lows of the story).

See what you think…

It was 2006. My girlfriend Gosia had just joined me in London, so both of us could find work. We were strolling through Primrose Hill, and saw an ice cream truck. It stood on intersecting dirt paths.

After strolling up and glancing through what was on offer, Gosia said she wanted a strawberry ice cream cone. I flinched; I squinted.

Gosia knew exactly what that meant. She cried out “we can’t even afford a strawberry ice cream.” The truth stung.

I tried comforting her with a slightly goofy hug, but she pushed me away.

I’d come to London in the hopes of making it big in the UK, leaving behind legions of unemployed recent grads in Poland to scramble for scraps.

I had literally left everything behind, including my girlfriend. I’d hoped to find a job that actually allowed me to pay off student loans from a previous stint as an undergrad in the US. I told her I’d understand if she didn’t come after me.

At 18% unemployment, Poland was clearly an employer ‘s labour market. If you didn’t rip your veins out to make your employer happy, you were dismissed. Lots of potential replacements available. A line out round the corner.

And it wasn’t all rosy when I finally got here. When I got to the UK myself, I quickly realized that my life savings, when converted to British pounds, was enough to last about…3 weeks. And that meant only buying Sainsbury’s “Just Basics” for food.

Yet, Gosia decided to follow me regardless. I was overjoyed.

And broke–by the time she joined me. We scrambled, either looking for work or sleeping.

For a few brief hours, we sometimes went for a jaunt to a park like Primrose Hill on the weekend. Maybe twice.

It was all the entertainment we could afford. As the unpaid rent piled up, we were both making dozens of phone calls and email applications from a local internet cafe every day.

Within two weeks of her strawberry flavored meltdown, Gosia had accepted a job at her dream company. (She’s still there).

And I found a job a month after that.

Like you when you started your company, we had a clear vision. Despite limited resources, I’d put everything on the line and just hustled. That leap of faith became less risky, because I’d deeply believed in my vision. That vision was so strong, it pulled Gosia to follow me to the UK. She joined me to fulfill her version of it. Vision drove us through what seemed like never-ending penny pinching, kept us together, and focussed us until we made it.

You make this is the kind of sacrifice every day as a founder. Risk + limited resources = the job description. Your belief in your vision pushes you and everyone around you through your strawberry ice cream moments. It’s the kind of oomph you need when recruiting and leading your team.

My comments:

To really throw the reader into the thick if the action, I would remove the sentence ‘My girlfriend Gosia had just joined me in London, so both of us could find work’ from the opening paragraph. That’s context that can be explained later.

I would also explain the ice cream incident in more detail. Describe the flavours. Describe the weather. Emphasise Gosia’s disappointment.

On the whole though I think this is a great example of what you can do when you get the right training, and follow the process.

If you’d like to do this sort of writing, join us at

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.