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.

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