Mission & Principles

Stories21 hopes to serve as a resource for people who want to create digital stories.

This site is meant to serve several different purposes. In its early stages, it can serve as a resource where you can find all sorts of tools useful for creating stories you need to tell. The basic idea is that Stories21 is full of information about storytelling tools and techniques. And hopefully, if there’s enough interest, the site might start to become a sort of listening and telling post where you and other storytellers would be able to gather as a whole community, as well as in smaller groups, to share your stories, either in-progress or ready to be seen. This project’s mission is based on four principles about creating digital stories and becoming a better storyteller.



Listening is a storyteller’s superpower. The most important practice you need to cultivate is to hear other people’s stories with empathy. And then to hear your own. There are certain ethics at work in this principle. You want people to listen to your story; listen to other people’s stories. You want people to actually hear your story. You need to do what it takes to actually hear theirs. The next step is to ask what it takes to acknowledge the power of someone else’s story. And hopefully, as you become part of a maturing community, you will begin to know your own story has actually been heard.

Community is the reason we tell stories. Your community might be you and another person. Your community might be anyone you can get to listen. Your community might even be that other part of yourself who really needs to hear what you’ve got to say. Any way you look at it, I think, it’s difficult to create a story if you think it will never be heard. I hope to build Stories21 into a resource with enough value to enough storytellers that it evolves from a place to learn about stories into a place to share stories.

The tools you choose shape the stories you tell. In a perfect world, each story has its own ideal form. I’d like to believe that I’m not a perfectionist. On the other hand, I do believe that the more tools you have to choose from, the closer you can get to creating the story you want to tell. This principle is more about depth than breadth. I think it’s far more useful to know one tool well than to be familiar with several. For instance, most video editing tools are based on the same basic principles; knowing the different ways you can use a single application like WeVideo is more important than having a basic knowledge of WeVideo, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro. I think the same holds for audio recording software, photo editing software, digital recorders, microphones, etc. Hopefully, Stories21 will be able to help you decide on which tool you want to use and to get to know that tool more thoroughly.

Experimentation is essential to discovering your story. I’d like to think that taking risks an failing are corollaries to this principle. One of the most rewarding aspects of storytelling is what I end up learning throughout the process. Sometimes that means I enter into a deep and honest examination of the story I’m telling. But at other moments it means trying to tell a particular story in a particular way—and failing. And then trying another way. Until I figure it out. Or, to be honest, I give up. There are a lot of my own stories I still haven’t figured out how to tell.