Storytelling Skills, Part 1: The first three skills of the masterful storyteller deal with imagining, since images are the stuff of stories.
When we are “present,” we engage with our listeners and with our story. But how do we do that? How do we connect immediately – rather than half-way through a story or not at all?
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…
Everyone can make up stories. If you think you can’t, it may be due to the “seed and the tree” problem.
When you are faced with the seed of a story, you may not recognize it. This is in part because story seeds can vary so much from each other.
But it’s mostly because, until you’ve made up a lot of successful stories, you probably haven’t had many chances to connect story seeds with the stories they grow into.