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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.

Four Roles for Storytellers – and Those Who Help Them

How do we describe different styles of coaching – objectively and clearly? This article sets out four pairs of roles. The way these roles are each assigned specifies important parts about coaching styles. As a bonus, these also help distinguish styles of directing and interviewing.

The Power of Their Stories

When we storytellers talk about the power of stories, we usually think of the stories we ourselves tell. To be sure, those stories are important and powerful.

But there’s a trend emerging that features another kind of story: the kind told by ordinary individuals about events or things that have affected their lives. Let’s call those “personal encounter stories.”

Personal encounter stories have some very practical uses. At the same time, they are easily overlooked…

Storytelling, Earthquakes, and Getting Through

Listening to a radio interview about Haiti earthquake relief, I realized the three qualities of a message that made me take immediate action. Can a knowledge of these qualities improve your ability to use storytelling to motivate?

In the Darkest Times, Stories Remind Us…

Here at my home near Boston, we just had our first major snowstorm. The nights are long now and the days are cold.

Given how dark and cold it feels, it’s easy to ignore the solstice, which occurred without fanfare yesterday at 5:45 pm. Nothing flashy happened. It was dark before 5:45; it was dark afterward. And, after all, the solstice happens every year.

But the solstice can be a reminder that events go in cycles, undulating like waves. And story can be a powerful reminder…

Three Paradoxes of Story Meaning

In storytelling, paradoxes abound.

In every case of paradox, we need to notice not just the effect we intend to create, but also the potentially opposite effect.

Continuously noticing the effects of our storytelling like this is demanding and sometimes unsettling. But it can also help our telling.

This article looks at three paradoxes that concern meaning – and how they might affect our storytelling.

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.

The Third Age of Storytelling: a Thank You

In a technological age, what is there for oral storytellers to be thankful for?

The Third Age of Storytelling is so new, we can hardly recognize it, much less be fully grateful for it. Let’s start by understanding the Ages that led up to it…

Why Don’t More Storytellers Succeed?

Success in storytelling isn’t just about being a good teller – as vital as excellent telling is. Equally important is avoiding three common mistakes when trying to reach new customers. The lead article in this newsletter describes the mistakes and how to avoid them.

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