What’s Your Favorite Story?

A reflection of storytelling through the lense of a pandemic pastime

My pandemic pastime is rewatching entire franchises of content. In 2020, my wife and I rewatched the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe from start to finish. 2021 is devoted to the entire Star Wars empire — not just the films, but all the canonized tv shows as well.

So far, we’ve watched the three prequels (meh), the amazing Clone Wars show, the even more amazing Rebels show Solo, and Rogue One. Next up is the original trilogy. I also snuck in a complete playing of the Star Wars: Fallen Order video game that takes place around the same time as Rebels. I am a completionist.

Both Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have one major thing that makes them timeless treasures. Yes, they’re both owned by Disney, but that isn’t why they are iconic. Both franchises engage exceptional storytelling.

Because of the vastness of content and scope, there are thousands of characters in each franchise. They span time periods, genres, and locations, so it’s easy to add new characters and stories that are equally compelling as the ones we know and love. But Marvel and Star Wars both tell compelling stories that are fun and engaging. Their stories draw us in and make us want to cheer when the characters succeed and mourn when they’re lost.

While Marvel and Star Wars are blessed with Disney-sized budgets, great storytelling only requires a great storyteller.

I was recently reminded of the movie Big Fish. It came out several years ago and is the tale of a storyteller. In his mind, life isn’t that interesting, so he embellishes — a lot. The title story involves catching a fish so large it outgrows the bathtub. While completely fanciful, his stories are captivating and the listeners what to know what happens next.

We all love a good story. Whether it’s a massive franchise like Marvel or Star Wars or the tales we share with friends, we all love and appreciate a great story.

Storytelling is a vital component for every creator. For writers, storytelling is obvious. Chefs tell stories through the ingredients of a dish or the components of a meal. Photographers tell stories with the frames they capture. Good marketers tell captivating stories where you and are the main character. We’re inundated in the best way possible with stories.

What is your favorite story? Is it a massive franchise or a subtle tale? Is it a meal, a memory, or something you came up with on the spot? Hit reply and share a story with me. I can’t wait to hear them.

A version of this story originally appeared in my weekly newsletter, Eat Your Words. Eat Your Words is an idiom meaning to take back what you’ve said. For me, the phrase combines my two favorite things: eating and writing. The Eat Your Words by Justin Cox newsletter mixes writing and creativity advice with featured meals and recipes. It’s the best of both worlds, delivered right to your inbox every week. Sign up today!

Freelance content writer and writing coach. Co-Founder of The Writing Cooperative. Let’s connect: https://justincox.com/.

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