Storycraft

It was a sad moment, seeing a new title now available from Lutheran author Walter Wangerin Jr., who died last August or so. Still, one especially worth mentioning here: Storycraft: The Art of Spiritual Narrative

Here’s the Amazon description:

In Storycraft, renowned author Walter Wangerin Jr. explores the power of narrative and storytelling to impact message, messenger, and hearer. Through preaching and teaching, the gospel comes alive–is incarnated–in the words, actions, and stories we tell. Well-crafted stories shape the relationship between tellers and listeners, between preachers and people. And in the telling, trust is established, faith is formed, and lives change. “A well-told story gives people eyes that see, ears that hear, tongues that taste, fingers that touch, and hearts that can be moved. But even before we start to create a story, and then to tell it, we should trust we have the abilities to craft it well enough to lead our listeners to the truth” (chapter 3).

Wangerin draws on personal experience and a host of voices to make a case for the importance of embracing story as an essential tool for communicating the gospel in preaching and teaching settings. He turns to personal anecdotes, wisdom from ancient classics, and a provocative anthology of narrative types. Together, Wangerin’s reflections create a theology of story that shows how the Word of God takes on flesh in practiced speech.

The sections of the book focus on the effect of spoken stories and the process of building a story step by step. It then provides several examples of stories for telling and expands on the importance of theatrics in preaching and teaching. In a very real sense, preachers and teachers of the gospel are actors. Motion and meaning flow not simply from words but from the embodied presentation of the preacher, who approaches the task as script writer, director, and actor.

Only 154 pages. Hmm.

The topic matter also reminds me of his other book for writers, Beate Not the Poore Desk: A Writer to Young Writers (2016).

Here’s a description of that one from Wangerin’s website, The Rabbit Room:

For the first time, National Book Award-winner Walter Wangerin, Jr., turns his keen eye upon the craft of writing. Adding a lifetime of experience to the wisdom and examples of other writers (Shakespeare, Goethe, Berry, Chaucer, and many more), he builds for us an intricate picture of the craft and its many subtitles.

But in revealing his own missteps, his own processes, and his own story, Wangerin provides a lantern for young writers as they embark on the long road toward mastery.

Through practical advice, ethical considerations, and a master’s definition of art itself, Wangerin draws us all closer to what it means to write—and to write well.

Wishing us all time and care for storycraft, as well as a well-used place to work. 😀

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