A great story is like a hidden fossil — except instead of buried in the earth, stories are buried in people. Like an archaeologist, the interviewer must map out where to search, determine the outlines of the story, and ever-so-carefully bring it into the light. Retrieving just one story — intact, with all its delicate edges preserved — is the task of an expert. But the truly exceptional storytellers have an extra sense. They can recognize when the fossil they’re extracting is not the only one. They know when to expand the operation, and when to dig deep.
That’s what we’re going to explore today: how do you develop the ability to get the whole story? How can you sense when a little more probing can yield an entirely new layer of astonishment? We’ll be answering that question by looking at a recent story from This American Life called My Ames is True, told by the eminent Michael Lewis.