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Story Contest: Details

photo of Doug

I am holding a contest this month for the best story about your values or principles in dealing with those who engage you to tell stories.

This story can be about performing, where you are engaged (volunteer or paid) to tell stories to a group or even an individual. They can also be about your telling of stories as part of another job, including teaching, coaching, counselling, training, consulting, etc.

This story can be a story of:

  • How you came to hold a value, principle, or standard (e.g., the time you failed to act on it and therefore learned its importance) OR
  • How you became aware of the value (e.g., the time someone asked you to violate it and you realized that represented a line you wouldn't cross).

Or perhaps it will approach the value in another way I haven't imagined yet! In any case, I'd like a story of your personal experience (or perhaps of another teller's experience, with their permission, of course).

The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate, valid for any products on my web store (but not for workshop registrations). I will offer a second prize of a $30 certificate, and a third prize of a $20 certificate. (I reserve the right to offer multiple or no prizes.)

In addition, I'll include the story on my website with your bio and a link to your own site, if you desire. (See past winners' stories here.) And I'll announce the winner in next month's newsletter, which goes out to over 7000 subscribers.

To enter, simply send me a story by Thursday, August 30, 2007.

Please note these terms:

By submitting a story, you agree to these terms:

  1. You retain the right to publish the story yourself in any form and to perform it under any circumstances.
  2. You grant me the right to publish or perform the story in any form, now or in the future.
  3. You also grant me the right to adapt the story in any way I wish, provided I credit you as the original author or adapter.
  4. You also warrant that you hold the copyright to this story (or to the adaptation, if the central story is in the public domain).


I will be the sole judge of the winner. If I choose, I may also select additional winners, provided that I award them equivalent prizes. I may show your entry to others for the purpose of asking their opinion about its quality, but I will make the final selection.

What I Look For In Entries

1. Stories that show rather than tell. Even though I may ask for stories on a theme (e.g., breakthroughs, discovering ease), I want stories that speak as stories, not as lectures. In other words, let the listener conclude the meaning; don't tell us what your story means. Confine your story, unless there is a special, pressing need to the contrary, to the essence of story: at one moment, in one place, one character took one action. If you feel that your story needs explaining, perhaps you should rework your story rather than tacking on some explanation. (If you have the Storytelling Workshop in a Box, check out the issues on "To Show or to Tell?" #19 and "The Moral of the Story?" #23.)

2. Stories that keep to their central purpose or thread. Some stories are complex and necessarily involve many disparate threads. But make sure yours doesn't have an accidentally disparate threads. In other words, check that everything in your story moves your central purpose forward. (If you have the Storytelling Workshop in a Box, check out the issue on "The Most Important Thing," #5 )

3. Stories that manage a transformation clearly. Not all stories involve a transformation. But if your does, be sure that you have shown the initial state, the cause (or causes) of change, and the final state. If you want your audience to experience a change in a character, make sure that you have found ways to express the character's transformation through observable changes. (If you have the Storytelling Workshop in a Box, check out the issue on "How to Show Transformation in a Story," #28. )

Of course, no set of criteria can be invariable. Art will always refuse to be summed up in a list. But most stories that I reject lack one or more of the above characteristics. It would be a shame to have your wonderful story miss the mark because you merely failed to consider these three qualities.

Good luck!

Yours in storytelling,

doug's signature

Doug Lipman



Doug Lipman

152 Wenonah Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 U.S.A.
Phone: (781) 837-1940
Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
Fax (toll-free): (888) 300-6665

This page was last updated on August 9, 2007
Copyright©2007 Doug Lipman

August 9, 2007