Story Dynamics – Stories

Can you tell stories “good enough” for children?

When I was boy, my favorite times were Saturday mornings. My father would sit down and ask me, “What do you want to learn about today?” One Saturday, in the course of helping me write a poem, he compared it to making up a story. My attention was galvinized. He knew how to make up [...]

Are you bailing out before your happy ending?

Every storyteller knows one thing: a problem in a story is never a final defeat.Think of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” When we hear in that folktale that Jack is poor, lazy, the child of a single mother, and about to sell their last cow, how do we react? We do NOT say, “That’s hopeless. Forget [...]

Do You Know the First Thing About Storytelling?

By “Do you know the first thing about storytelling,” I mean, “What’s the primary – the most important – thing to know?”You see, many people come to storytelling with an idea, often unconscious, of what storytelling consists of. When that idea is incorrect or unhelpful, it leads them to tell stories ineffectually. And the Word [...]

The Seven Deadly Marketing Sins – for Storytellers

If you’re like most storytellers, you would like to tell more stories, and that means marketing your storytelling – whether for money or not. Sadly, most tellers commit one or more of the following big mistakes. The storytellers are not the only losers, though; their potential listeners are also deprived of the joy and power [...]

Is Your Body Confusing Your Listeners?

(Kinesthetic Imagery, Part 2)In last month’s eTips, I talked about kinesthetic imagery and how it relates to characterization. (If you missed it, it’s at )By “kinesthetic,” I meant the sensations people feel in their muscles, guts, or joints. These differ from and supplement visual images, auditory images, and images of all the other senses. [...]

Give Your Storytelling Some Muscle

(Kinesthetic Imagery, Part I)Years ago, my friend Charles told me about the first time he heard a certain rising executive speak to a group. Charles said, “I thought, who is this man? Why do I dislike him so much?”Charles went on to tell me how stiffly the man stood. “And when he gestured, it was [...]

The Spinning-Plate Theory of Storytelling

Have you ever seen a juggler start to juggle plates?First, the juggler takes a plate out of a bag and puts it on a stick. Then she pays intense attention to it, gets it spinning until it needs just a small motion of her hand to keep spinning, and then turns her attention to the [...]

How to Make an Excellent Story Recording

In times of recession, competition increases for storytelling jobs. To earn a living when times are tough, you need to look for additional sources of income. One source is the growing demand for recorded stories on the internet. But you won’t make much money from story downloads unless your recordings are excellent enough to draw [...]

Learning Stories with BRIO

Stories are made of images, not words. Therefore, I recommend against learning a story by memorizing the words. But if you don’t start with the words, how will you practice your story? I recommend you practice by telling to live listeners. But suppose you have a willing helper to listen to you. How do you [...]

The Fox and the Crane

This 1895 version is by James Baldwin, an educator and author from Indiana, USA. I include it to illustrate what I call the “Shallow Bowl Syndrome,” in which we teachers and communicators provide others with the kind of bowls we ourselves like to drink out of. (I mention this in my description of the Beginning [...]

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