I’m trying something new over the next few days. I’ve lined up blog posts from content writers I know—all phenomenally talented and darn good people—and I’m going to reinvent headlines for them.

Now, I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with their current lines. In fact, quite the opposite. This is not a critique. It’s strictly an exercise for me. Gotta build that blog line muscle.

Doug Paton is content writer in the education and outdoors space. He’s got a knack for storytelling, and he’s an all-around nice guy to boot. (He’s Canadian, so he has to be by law. Also, I want credit for not making the obvious “boot / boat” joke.)

He was kind enough to let me take a crack at one of his signature posts, Are You Telling Your Story Correctly? It’s a fun piece that sums up everything Doug.

…so, fishing & stuff.

Image result for polar bear

source: Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures.com

Give it a read. Add a few claps, then come back and read these lines I wrote for him.

1 How a polar bear taught me to tell my story
2 Here’s the story telling technique that made Tarantino famous
3 Why I start stories from the end, even when they involve my brother & a bear
4 How to become a better storyteller (taught to me by a polar bear)
5 3 small changes for people who want to tell a better story but don’t know where to start
6 How to bore people to tears with your best story (and why you shouldn’t do that anymore)
7 Bug bites, polar bears & storytelling: The common thread between all 3
8 the polar bear turned my 10-day trip into a 5—and taught me these 3 story techniques
9 People you tell your story to really wish you knew this trick
10 This intro will bore you to death (and when you see the way I change it, you’ll be revived)
11 Want to really engage your audience? Start with the polar bear.
12 How to make your best stories better
13 My boring story of almost being eaten by a bear (and how I made it interesting)
14 Why you should  ever start your stories at the beginning
15 You don’t have a bad story. You’re just telling it wrong.
16 Where should you position the hook of your story?
17 what camping taught me about telling a better story
18 Stop burying your lead (and other lessons learned from being chased by a bear)
19 Can you help me place the polar bear in this story?
20 Do you know where to start your story? Are you sure?
21 3 tips to make your stories more listenable
22 The secret to better storytelling lies in this polar bear’s mouth
23 You’ve got a good story. You’re just telling it wrong.
24 3 ways to pump some energy into your lazy story
25 The way you’ve been telling your story is wrong. Here’s how to fix it.
26 How changing the subject of your best story makes it better
27 My polar bear story (with a twist)
28 To get people’s attention in 2 seconds, start with this part of your story
29 You don’t need a polar bear in your story to make it interesting
30 The polar bear that chased me doesn’t want you to know this story-telling technique
31 How to apply a mixed-up style to your storytelling techniques
32 Why your story isn’t all that interesting and how to fix it
33 The little known method for making stories better
34 The interesting fact about storytelling
35 Telling your stories wrong might get you eaten by a polar bear
36 3 secrets to better storytelling
37 3 mistakes people make when telling their story
38 Stop telling your story wrong—and make it interesting
39 Here’s the reason why you’re boring to talk to
40 The secret to better stories? Start at this part.
41 The sooner you know these 3 storytelling techniques, the faster you’ll learn if the bear got me
42 How almost being eaten by a polar bear taught me to be a better writer
43 3 little secrets to telling a better story
44 Here’s how to make your story more interesting
45 Are you focusing on the wrong parts of your story?
46 Here’s how to tell your polar bear story
47 Your secret to better storytelling? Bears.
48 People didn’t want to hear my polar bear story until I started doing this
49 How to make your lead-in stronger than polar bear (written by a guy almost attacked by one)
50 Mixing story your up engaging is
51 What I learned about storytelling from almost being eaten by a bear
52 Starting with this part of your story will make people snap to attention
53 How something like being eaten by a bear can change your life (and your story)
54 Your secret to a better story may involve a polar bear
55 The story of Morgan Freeman, a bear & my brother
56 What do meeting people, story telling and polar bear all have in common?
57 Asking this one question makes meeting people easy
58 I wonder how the polar bear tells his side of this story?
59 Even my story about almost being attacked by a polar bear was boring until I did this…
60 Who else wants to know what a polar bear taught me about storytelling?
61 Skip to the good stuff (and 2 other storytelling tips)
62 How to hook your audience from the very beginning
63 Does your story zig when you should zag? Here are 3 ways to find out.
64 3 storytelling tips about 2 brothers, 1 canoe and a gigantic polar bear
65 Starting at the beginning may actually be a terrible idea
66 What’s worse? The bugs, this bear or your story?
67 The good news about your terrible storytelling
68 Why you stories are boring (and how to fix them with a polar bear)
69 Camping, bugs and man-eating polar bear. This is how you tell a story.
70 3 tips that will have your readers saying thank you
71 Here’s the trick I use to make conversations more interesting
72 When to drop in the polar bear to create a better story
73 Why other stories sound better than yours: 3 tips to make your audience stick around
74 Storytelling as easy as 3,2,1
75 How to tell stories in the Tarantino method
76 3 quick tips to make you a better story teller
77 This is the story of how I escaped death (and how I learned to tell it better)
78 You’re not still telling your story from the beginning, are you?
79 Where would you put the polar bear in this story?
80 See how easily you can punch up your story
81 Where should you put the good parts of your story? Ask the bear that almost ate me.
82 How to tinker your story and rearrange the best part
83 Story hacking with a polar bear
84 How to make people cling to every word of your story
85 The ugly truth about your most interesting story
86 The ultimate 3-tip guide to better storytelling (and a polar bear)
87 Here’s the mixed-up method that Tarantino used to tell Reservoir Dogs
88 My story about being chased by a bear was boring until I did this
89 How to tell your story better (and have people listen until the end)
90 Fact: All stories are better with a polar bear.
91 3 tweaks to make your story more interesting
92 What’s your polar bear story?
93 How to mix-up your story order to make it more interesting
94 3 tips for better stories
95 The best way to tell your story probably isn’t how you think
96 Does your story conjure up Ben Stein or Morgan Freeman?
97 Does your story have a twist? Try using this polar bear technique
98 Don’t take the polar bear out of your storytelling equation
99 Quentin Tarantino changes the order of his story and you should too.
100 This polar bear taught me storytelling. Then he tried to eat me.
101 Running from a polar bear can teach you a few things. Like this storytelling technique
102 Everyone’s got a polar bear story. This one’s mine


Overall: This was fun! Doug selected the bolded options—and judging by the number chosen, I’d say I did all right.

Lessons: It’s clear the polar bear is the hook. So there’s no reason not to highlight it in the headline. And it’s worth noting that Doug has an alternate name for this piece on Medium; Are You Telling Your Polar Bear Story? I didn’t want to copy it too closely, but damn if it just doesn’t make sense.

  • There were a few times my brain strayed to directions not included in the story—the Tarantino lines, specifically. I had to reel it back in. Stupid brain…
  • It’s tough to get into another writer’s head. You’ve got to keep their personality and brand in mind as you write. That’s not easy if you’re not like them. (More on this in a few days)
  • Bears are mean. Glad I’m an indoors guy.
  • Canada seems pretty

If you want outdoor or education content, give Doug a shout. Tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya.

Image result for tell em large marge sent ya

Time: 2 sessions, 55 minutes