What do you mean, Full Stack Storyteller?

Correct, I am a full stack storyteller. Like how a full stack developer‘s code benefits the technician and the user, a full stack storyteller’s story resonates with the audience and other storytellers. And yes, I know that I may have co-opted the term. I’m not the first to do this, nor will I be the last.

The “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” label got a bad rap. While the title has its ups and downs, I believe the former outweighs the latter. The argument of the generalist vs. the specialist continues to rage in many industries like software. I propose to make the same case (if not reinforce it) in multimedia storytelling.

Cartoon style vector illustration of a full stack developer modified for full stack storyteller. It replaces coding elements such as CSS and HTML with narrative elements like character and plot
I admit, my photoshop skills need a helluva lot of work (image from Shutterstock)

Throughout my life, I learned three important lessons. One, repeated, multiple, and diverse experiences lead to richer stories. Two, the story and the teller have to be clear, concise, yet captivating. And three, the rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers (shamelessly copied and pasted straight out of the Wikipedia page). All jokes aside, I try to follow the third rule as much as possible – out of habit, out of superstition, and probably out of a non-medical obsessive compulsion.

Let me explain.

Bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and many other books. An full stack storytelling inspiration.
Bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and many other books. Image from Penguin Random House

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” -Rita Mae Brown

I held two jobs in the service. First, as an aircraft mechanic, I learned attention to detail by editing and rewriting several pages of policies and procedures. Then, as an analyst, I understood clarity through preparing intelligence reports. In both arenas, I collaborated with as many people as possible, within and outside my field. As these relationships grew, so did my ability to tell stories. And while the military supplied me with time to grow in my comfort zone, academia educated me to expand out of it.

I’ll be honest, up until recently, I thought of an MBA as my “golden ticket” to a six-figure career. It also happened to be the shortest path to the degree that I could complete. However, the most meaningful thing to ever happen to me on this path had to do these academic projects. During that time, I rediscovered the budding creativity I’ve always had and the artistic flair I wanted to grow.  I wrote a sketch comedy script, a short story, and a poem that, even though I was made to do it, I’m glad to have done it and proud of what I made. It also led me to an essay I wanted to write, as opposed to having to. These professional and academic experiences shaped me to becoming a full stack storyteller. But, I need one more crucial element to be fully formed.

Austrian management consultant, educator, and author. His quote on communication gets to the crux of how to be a full stack storyteller.
Austrian management consultant, educator, and author. Image from Wikipedia

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker

Communication is not only key, but also lock, handle, door, room, and oftentimes the whole house. Although I learned a lot from college and the military, As a lifelong learner, I need more. I have yet to receive formal instruction in media strategy. Therefore, as a full stack storyteller, one of my goals is to be a communications management professional (CMP). The Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) issues these certificates on behalf of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

In the meantime, one of the best classes I took on Linkedin Learning was Shani Raja’s “Writing With Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer.” He touts that the ingredients to the secret sauce of writing are simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. If one can easily digest the plot, empathize with the characters, follow the conflict and enjoy the resolution, the storyteller did their job. This is the only time I will stray away from the rule of three.

Speaking of.

Eric Walters is the author of "The Rule of Three," one that full stack storytellers follow.
Eric Walters has written almost 100 novels for young readers since 1993. (Penguin Random House Canada). Image from cbc.ca

“Crisis doesn’t change people; it reveals them.” – Eric Walters, Rule of Three

I wanted to bring back my creative spark and set a fire under me to unleash a blaze of expression. It’s something that I have lit many times but haven’t been able to keep burning. When I wrote, “Once again, a new start,” and “A Re-think of the ‘New Start,'” my state of mind was, shall we say, jumbled. Hopefully, with age comes wisdom. And with wisdom comes less procrastination. I doubt it. At least this time around, I have more powerful sources of motivation to keep me going. I have a wife and child that I need to support. They are both my reasons to gather, sow, and cultivate my art.

Therefore, to keep going with my rule of three, I will identify as a writer, a video essayist, and a podcaster. However, I will not fully pursue the other two roles until I am firmly established with the first.

Although I currently live in Vacaville, I eventually want to end up in Okinawa. There, I will continue to build my full stack storyteller brand offer my services worldwide (or at least to English-speaking clients).

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