Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Storytelling the alphabet A-E

crossposted from massmouth
It's a pleasure to come back and write the occasional guest post for massmouth. Thank you for this opportunity.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Laura Packer. I'm a storyteller, writer and consultant. I just moved to Kansas City from Boston and am continuing my storytelling adventures in the Midwest. I am writing an A-Z of storytelling over on my storytelling blog. With massmouth's permission I'm going to post summaries and links to the longer posts every five letters or so. I hope you find this useful and entertaining.

A is for about.
What is your story about? I'm not talking about the obvious summary (a little girl goes for a walk to her grandmother's house, disobeys her mother, talks to a wolf and gets into trouble) but the deeper meaning. The meaning of the same story can change from teller to teller, listener to listener and even telling to telling. Take some time to get to know what the story is really about for you. Knowing this will help you tell it more effectively and will let you enjoy it more. Really, you don't want to be telling a funny story about your childhood neighbors and suddenly discover it's about how sad you were when you moved from your old neighborhood. You can read more about storytelling about here.

B is for beginnings. 
The beginning of your story is not when you start speaking. It's when you walk onto the stage and look at your audience. It's in your body, your movement, your eyes and then your voice. The beginning of your story is the doorway you open to invite your audience into a new world. Do so with confidence and they will be eager to go along with you. You can read more about storytelling beginnings here. 

C is for character. 
Your characters are your storytellers. You need to know them inside and out, far beyond the reaches of your current narrative. When you deeply understand your characters - heroes and villains - you can portray them, give them voice, with greater authenticity. When you love them - heroes and villains - your audience will, too. It doesn't matter if they are real or fictional, you need to know and love them as their voice in the world. You can read more about characters here.

D is for death. 
Death is part of life and so, it might be part of a story you tell. As the teller, you have an obligation to guarantee the audience's safety if you're taking them someplace dark. They need to know they can trust you if you're going to ask them to think about death. Storytelling is a great way to work out our own feelings about death, since we can do so through metaphor and other safe methods. As the teller, you can help your listeners go to the land of the dead and come back safely. You can read more about telling stories about death here. 

E is for ethics and endings.
Two issues in one post. Because storytelling is such a powerful art, one that can move audiences to great emotion and action, we have a variety of ethic obligations to our audiences, our stories, our work, our colleagues and our events. Remember to ask yourself, am I honoring the story? the audience? myself? my colleagues? Do I build the art up by telling this?
The ending of the story will linger with your audience long after you've left the room. A good ending can make a mediocre story soar while a poor one can drown the best told tale. Some hints and tips for crafting effective endings.
You can read more about ethics and endings here. 

Coming up? Fun, healing, images, justice and k... what to do for k...

(c) 2013 Laura S. Packer  (c)2013 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com.
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