My new podcast, Lore, is something that seems to make sense for me. I’ve had a lot of friends tell me that it fits really well with my other projects, namely my fiction writing. Surprisingly, it wasn’t an easy idea for me to arrive at.
Originally, the stories that have become Lore were intended as a simple, five chapter ebook that I wanted to give to people for signing up for my newsletter here on the site. A lot of writers do that; it’s hard to get people to want to add yet another email to their inbox, but getting some awesome writing that can’t be found or purchased elsewhere is a total win. So I began writing that ebook.
As I researched the topics, though, something started to become super clear: I love telling stories (duh) and people love hearing them (double-duh). BUT, most people don’t have the time to sit down and read actual text on a page/screen. It’s a sad state of the world when people don’t have time to read, but I’m the poster child for that new generation, and I long for a solution.
Audiobooks are one of those fixes. I listen to novels while I run (imagine a land-based manatee with toothpick legs plodding down a gravel path and you’ve captured the basics of my “runs”). The narrative helps me turn off my pain sensors and stop worrying about whether I’ve run 1 mile or 1.00001.
Podcasts are another fix. Sort of. I love podcasts. Heck, I’ve co-hosted one for three years. I love the topics we talk about each week because they’re all things I bump into in my business, but my favorite aspect is the timing. Dave and I keep our episodes to 30–40 minutes, max. And that’s intentional.
Why? Because people are busy. Heck, I’M busy. I don’t have time to record for 90 minutes. And I don’t know many people who have time to listen to me ramble on and on for 90 minutes. Time is a valuable resource, and I don’t want to waste my listener’s time. I hate the trend of 3-hour tech podcasts, or celebrity trio podcasts where they just riff on a topic for two hours. Some people dig it, sure, but not me.
Enter Serial. If anything in the last 12 months can be pointed at as a direct shot in the arm of podcasting, it’s Serial. They’ve brought the medium to the forefront of a public that had largely ignored podcasts until now. Everyone was talking about Serial. SNL even mocked it in a skit, and that’s the kind of watermark that says something (good or bad) has reached the general public. People are in love with Serial, and rightly so.
People want story; they don’t want Yet Another Tech Podcast. Please, for the love of all that is holy, the world doesn’t need another discussion of browser extensions and laptop ports. I don’t want to participate in a podcast that, ten years later, is a steaming pile of outdated, flash-in-the-pan punditry. I want to leave something behind me in my wake that is fresh and relevant to each new listener, no matter when they start following the show.
I believe people innately hunger for story. We enjoy a well-told, well-written tale. It allows us to escape for a moment and live in someone else’s world, a world where problems have solutions (most of the time) and things make sense (again, mostly). Story is in our DNA and it’s our legacy. We evolved from knock-dragging cavemen into advanced cultures, in part, because we discovered the benefits of gathering around the fire at night and telling stories. Shared knowledge, shared experiences, communal narrative. It’s what makes us who we are.
I wrote some of the text for Lore because I wanted to tell stories. In the process of researching a new novel, I often discover pieces of history and lore that give common scary stories a new level of detail, and a fresh humanity. Vampire tales, for example, aren’t stories of supernatural beings; they are stories about our longing for immortality, the hint of our death that waits around every corner, and a way to rationalize the mysteries of death. Vampire stories aren’t about vampires, you see. They’re about us.
Writing these background pieces, though, got me thinking. What if they were audio files rather than text files? Would putting these stories into a podcast format allow more people to experience them? Would it enhance the tales and create valuable content, or would it be just one more bit of noise in a sea of fuzzy static?
You, of course, know the rest of that story because Lore was born and released to the world last month. I had two goals for doing the show:  tell the historical facts behind common scary stories in a deeply narrative way, and  keep each episode short and professional, with a palpable mood and audible polish.
Early reviews of the podcast have blown me away, but I can’t help but nod and think, of course they were. I’m telling stories. I’m welcoming listeners into another world, a world that’s sitting right behind our own, one that feels both comforting and frightening. Give me your imagination and less that twenty minutes, and I’ll take you somewhere, teach you something, and entertain you.
I’m not NPR by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a storyteller with a mic and some ambient music. But when people respond to the show by calling it their “new favorite thing ever” or “an instant addiction”, you have to believe that it’s struck a nerve.
Lore is about stories, and people like that. Maybe people need that.
I host all the information about Lore over at the official website. And if email newsletters are your thing, there’s a signup form on the About page that will let you stay up to date on future episodes, as well as getting the full episode transcript (including links to source material from my research) right in your inbox.
If you have already listened to the show and enjoy it, there are two things you can do to help Lore grow and spread:  tell a friend or three to subscribe and listen, and  go to iTunes and leave a review. Your help can grow this from a niche show to something bigger.
Share the story.