Will Eisner is such an effective storyteller and shares his skills with us in his book, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. Eisner discusses many ways to generate an idea for a story, but one way to get an idea for a story is for a storyteller to select an event of interest, one that can stand alone. This is known as a slice-of-life story and it is typically comes from an interesting event or experience and looks at it realistically, according to Eisner in Chapter 5.
With this idea in mind we can tell a real story that someone has experienced. For example, I could talk about how I sailed to Havana, Cuba back in May of this year. I would include how fast we got there, how the boat almost capsized, and how we made it safely. I could talk about how I was feeling during some parts of the journey, how I was scared, and similar concepts. Eisner describes this on the same page as previously discussed in saying that, “The reader’s appreciation hinges on the telling of it. It requires that the artists portrays believable acting. Since characters are dealing with internal emotions, subtle postures and gestures must be true-to-life, instantly recognizable.”
But to keep an audience engaged in such a story is definitely not an easy task. Eisner in Chapter 6, discusses how an author should keep a reader’s attention in saying, “The key to reader control is relevance to his interest and understanding.” In essence when focusing on controlling the reader, it is the storyteller’s responsibility to further our understanding of the world through unknown and well-known ways. Stories should lead to a greater understanding of the world if they wish to keep their audiences engaged. That may be through humor, sadness, or perhaps even wit. Provacative and attractive stories will always attract the most attention from their audience and keep it.