The First Rule of Story Telling

The first rule of story telling is to have a story worth telling. I'm currently working my way through Dwight Swain's terrific Techniques of the Selling Writer and enjoying it enormously. Unlike most books on technique, Swain starts with the idea that you must tell a story - something that seems to get lost in some other books that I've read recently which seem to focus on the mechanics as though the engine makes the voyage.

Anyway, I was perusing book blurbs on Amazon. It was a moment of weakness - on a good day, I have an ego the size of Texas. Average days, probably the size of mid-western state like Ohio. Today, I'm cowering under the bed.

What I was looking for where books similar to mine and discovering, no surprise, that there are darned few. Blowing up Manhattan or blowing up strange planets or bodice rippers are recognized genres with their own rules and expectations.

Running books fall into the how-to category or the terminally bad with a few exceptions such as the incomparable John L. Parker's Once a Runner and Again to Carthage - both fine, fine books with great insight into both running and people. Most writers that use running as a part of their novel seem to have avoided the first rule of story telling. Or, maybe I just don't get it.

And that has me wondering...

What the heck is a story worth telling?