Gabriel García Márquez and the Acrobatics of Captivating Storytelling

A Nobel Prize-winning author offers lessons to copywriters on balancing fact and poetry. Here's how a hint of magical realism can enhance your marketing.

Captivating storytelling services

In one of Gabriel García Márquez’s finest novels, the 90-year-old male narrator is overcome by love: “I floated among erratic clouds…my delirium was so great that during a student demonstration complete with rocks and bottles, I…held up a sign that would sanctify my truth: I am mad with love.”

Emotion spills lavishly into the moment, rife with the virile energy of a man in his prime. There is no further mention of the student demonstration. But Garcia trusts his reader enough to forfeit linear storytelling in favor of a more resonant human truth.

Like Garcia’s magic-punctuated storylines, copy balances fact against poetry. Copywriting provides an opportunity to abandon dry details, choosing instead to hang-glide in the dizzying air space of human thrill, creativity, delight, and inspiration. A great copywriter trusts her readers’ intelligence and creativity. As such, she is freed from stating the obvious, and given license to soar. Soaring–within precise parameters–makes the copy. The failure to soar is a failure of copy.

Interested in getting to know Marquez’s venerated prose? Try a few of my favorites: “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” “Of Love and Other Demons” and “Love in the Time of Cholera.” If they inspire you, explore too the works of Isabel Allende, Marquez’ female counterpart. Some of her best stories include “The House of the Spirits,” “Portrait in Sepia” and “Daughter of Fortune.”

Jean Tang

Jean Tang

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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