Story Dynamics – Stories » Beginning storytelling

Beware the “Storytelling Voice”!

Too many storytellers adopt an artificial way of speaking that has nothing to do with communication or the peculiar qualities of the tale being told. This practice holds back the teller, the listeners, and the growth of storytelling as a whole.

Coaching a teller to drop this kind of “misdirected effort” is tricky, but possible. The coach must lead the teller through four important steps. Above all, we must treat tellers afflicted with this “performance virus” with patience, respectfulness, and genuine affection, for they, too, have great potential and are therefore precious to our movement.

Finding the Scenes in a Story

The power of stories comes through scenes. But finding them can be a problem. Interestingly, the problem is similar, whether you are searching for the scenes to tell in your own story or trying to elicit a story from someone else.

Part of the solution is to temporarily suspend worrying about including irrelevant details – so that you can focus completely on finding the details that will make your story memorable.

The Spark of Your Story Fire

Imagining is the most important storytelling skill. If you cannot imagine a story, then you have nothing to communicate.

The words of a story are much less important: they are just a medium through which you stimulate others to imagine. In this sense, words are like a fireplace: the container that shapes the fire and makes it efficient, not the fuel that burns.

But, in another sense, imagining is the act that puts you in contact with the unknown…

Your Thanksgiving Stories

Two years after their first Thanksgiving feast, the Pilgrims faced starvation, living for a time on a ration of five kernels of grain a day.

Gratitude is sweeter when we remember times of scarcity. And scarcity is sweeter when we season it with gratitude for what we do have.

Stories are, themselves, a form of wealth. And telling our stories – both of scarcity and especially of gratitude – is a form of wealth no one can take from us.

A Brotherhood of Storytellers

Last weekend, I had a chance to meet and work with an extraordinary group of people. Let me tell you about one of them. One Day, They Arrest You… Can you imagine being unjustly accused of murder? At first, you might not be too worried, sure that the truth will set you free. If you’re [...]

The “Comforter Method” of Storytelling

When I was six and a half, my parents, my brother and I moved from our little one-bedroom apartment. We left behind the bedroom that barely held two single-sized beds and moved to a house in the suburbs. Our parents got a double bed. It seemed enormous!

Even more miraculous, my parents’ new bed was covered with the most luxurious object I had ever come across…

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