George Saunders Explains How to Tell a Good Story

For George Saunders, the process of crafting a good story means not condescending to your reader. It means creating sentences that clue them into something unnoticed about the character, and allowing them to figure it out. “A bad story is one where you know what the story is and you’re sure of it,” he says in this short film, George Saunders: On Story. For Saunders, storytelling is a stand-in for day-to-day life—and the same considerations you take when approaching how to tell a story mirror the freedom to self-determined identity that you give your loved ones.

George Saunders: On Story is part of an ongoing series created by Redglass Pictures and executive produced by Ken Burns, courtesy of PBS. Saunders’s new book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, is out now. The first short film, Ken Burns: On Story, can be seen here. To see more from this interview with George Saunders go to the Redglass Pictures website.