Thursday, January 03, 2008

Storytelling tip #5

I heard this one from Donald Davis at a workshop many years ago. It has proved invaluable in my work.

Begin by talking about your story.

By talking about a story instead of actually telling it, you'll take the pressure off of having to get it right. As you talk about it, you start to refine your knowledge of the story and how it fits into your repertoire.

I often say to my sister, "Hey, I'm thinking about telling a new story I just found. Can I tell you about it?" As I tell her, it starts to take shape and I see the pictures more clearly in my mind. Often by the time I've finished telling about it, I've shifted into telling it. Also, since I'm just rambling, I don't mind if she has suggestions or questions.

This works for all kinds of stories, from personal stories to folktales to literary stories.


Mary said...

At Ren. Faire we rename those anachronisms -- planes are dragons, cameras "fairy boxes." Perhaps the train noises can be thundering hooves?? Just a thought.

PriscillaHowe said...

Good idea! Thanks!

Granny Sue said...

This is a good point. I never thought about it as learning the story. When I find one I like, I want to talk about it, I think about it, mull over it. So it gets into me and starts becoming my story. That's when I know it's a keeper.

Sean said...

Yes and...a solid, strong person who can say either "oh, yes, I see that as you" or "Oh, what are telling *that* for" is rather darn helpful.

Tim said...

Once, in the car, as we were driving somewhere, I told my wife that I found an interesting Russian folktale that I wanted to tell. I described it as best I could, I got most of the details out, but I was talking about the story, not telling it.

Later, I learned it, and asked my wife to listen to me tell it.

When I was done, she said, "I liked it better the first time you told me about the story."

"But I wasn't telling it then."

"But you were focused on the story then, and not your performance, like you were just now."

Ah hah!

Granny Sue said...

Now that's an aha for sure, Tim. I think many of us have been there, trying so hard to get it right that we beat the heart right out of the tale.