Craft a Story – Tell a Story – Be the Story


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That can’t be about me … or is it?

Actually, it is. If you are telling a story it is about you.

But I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about someone else.

Still, it doesn’t matter. Stories are stories. We craft the story. We tell the story. We are the story. Our ideas and images come from somewhere. That somewhere is inside of us.

The stories we tell, tell us about ourselves. What we like or don’t like. What we would like to be or not to be. What we like to do or not do.

Yep, a bit repetitive but true. The truth is, we can’t hide. We can’t even behind one of those folktales or fairy tales we like to tell. Like everything else, our quirks and foibles show up here too.

This whole thing is making me feel a piece of plastic wrap instead of meat and bones.

OK, so we’re all a bit transparent. But hey, when it comes to you, you are the expert. So be you. Live it. Show it. Tell it. Artfully flaunt it. It’s the stuff your great stories are made of.

When you craft a story, you become the story. When you tell the story, be the story.  Because you are the best at being you, be you in your story. When you craft all those quirky, zany, eccentric, devious or outrageous characters, parts of them are you. Even the crazy or I never want to be seen with them, types people in your life become a part of your stories.

When crafting a personal story or a folktale, remember you are the story.

Next, pick a story you are crafting or a folktale you love.

Take a few minutes and cast yourself in the leading role or another character’s role.
The stage is set …
The curtains raise …

Who are you?
Where are you?
Where is happening around you?
What is your story of why you are doing what you are doing?
How did you get to where you are in the story?

Who else in your story?
What do they think about you?
Where are you going?
What mischief, romance or quest are they on?
What do you do or hope to become?
What are you doing that you never thought you could do?
How is the ending of your story different from the beginning?

So . . . What’s your story?

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Storytelling – Storylistening Part 11 Carmon Agra Deedy


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Part l rocked! An audience so intricately involved in the reality of her story, needing gentle reminder telling them the story was done. The story’s singing frog croaked a stunning image of what is possible in the realm of story. Folktales are real. Just ask the audiences of centuries past and those yet to come.

Now for another amazing experience into the realm and reality of story, only this time, from the storyteller’s life’s experiences.

Yes! Yes! Tell! Tell! Do tell!

Introducing author and storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy for more story-inspiration and interaction in her telling of, You’re Gonna Miss Me. A personal story of human connection.

 

What did you like about it?

From this presentation and/or story, what can you add to your storytelling skill set?

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Storytelling – Storylistening – Folktale Part l


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“Tell! Tell! Do tell! Tell me a story!” These tradition honored words catapult storytellers into action. Spinning stories to life, the tellers immerse themselves in the living reality of story. A journey which takes the teller and the listeners into places they may or may not have been before!

Let’s begin. First, let’s listen, for it is the place all great storytellers begin. Listen to the day’s conversations. Listen to chatter of personal stories being told. Listen to professional storytellers tell from stages. Listen to their stories. Listen to their cantor and their words. See and experience their emotional expressions and experience how they craft their stories.

Entering into the magically alluring world of folklore, we join and unnamed storyteller in her adaptation and retelling of a traditional folktale entitled, The Well at the World’s End.

 

 

What did you like about it?

What inspired you?

What can you add to your storytelling skill set?

 

Until next time … Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laugh, Giggle, Guffaw – Adding Humor to Story


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A cruise down health and sanity’s Easy Street begins with the joy of laughing. From giggling to guffawing, experts hale laughter’s side-splitting benefits. Anything from a decrease in blood pressure and stress hormones; an increases in oxygen flow and creativity; and, ironically, to a great abdominal strengthening workout. Laughing is also a highly contagious mood elevator and a relationship icebreaker.  It can be done individually or as a group. It benefits everything and costs nothing.

Laughing also helps us to expand and enliven the images of our stories.

Story-size:

Pick a story or a folktale you love. So …

Why do you like it?
What makes you laugh?
Which part or parts are funny? Why?

Next, pick a funny part. Really focus on what makes you laugh. Then laugh. Or maybe giggle, cackle or guffaw, it doesn’t matter. Just let it go and get going. Laugh, then laugh some more. It may feel fake at first but keep on going. Remember, laughter increases creativity and enhances physical and emotional well-being. The better we feel the more fun we have. Naturally our creatively sours and our story grows. Enjoy experiencing the moment. Laugh in the feelings and emotions connected to this part of  your story. The more vividly alive and emotionally vibrant your story becomes, the easier it is to tell.

Now wipe away those tears. Take a few deep breaths to ease the abdominal muscles. Slog down a cup or two of water and revisit your story.

What did you like about the experience?
What changed during the experience?
What is so funny about what was funny?
What new ideas or refined images do you have now?
Are there any other parts of the story which pulls your attention in a humorous way or even a non-humorous way?
What new insights did this experience bring?

When it’s funny, we just have to laugh! Keep laughing. Keep experiencing and growing your story. Laugh, dance, snore, scream, cry … experience, enhance and enliven the images of your story. The more vivid the images, the more real your story becomes. The more vivid the images the easier it is to tell.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

 

 

 

Story vs. Facts


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The dissemination of intellectual or knowledge-based information is often achieved through educational lectures and professional seminars.  Word-impacted power-point presentations fill overhead screens accompanied by handouts with accompanying empty black lines flanking images of screen shots. Thus offering audience members an additional way to record another’s idea of what they think is truly important. Opinion poles, bar graphs, and test results are frequent flyers in the realm of evidence-based documentation or presentations. This type of official data also provides audience members with justifiable proof and unquestionable credibility about what they have to say and why they should be paid.

These authoritatively utilized, zealously prescribed and frequently clung to methods of information dumping are heralded by acclaimed experts. Yep, duty-bound experts in any given field come fully armed and loaded with their ability to blast us with yet another round of impressively, important material. Information we’re privileged enough to listen to and even more privileged to pay for.

OK, I get it. Informational programs and seminars can be helpful and informative. Learning new information and being exposed to fresh ideas can also be illuminating, practical and even inspirational. Still, they can also be easily forgotten, yawn-provokingly dull, and stoically lifeless. But what about story? A word, a concept and an art form often lost in an impressively, impersonal jungle of justifiably, unwavering facts and stats.

Now back to story, with its emotionally engaging and creatively inspiring conquests of intrigue, suspense, and adventure. Stories are juicy, zany, troublesome, romantic, cataclysmic, informational, cautionary and heartwarming. They captivate our attention and tug at our heartstrings. Stories remind us of who we are and inspire us to be more than we thought we could be. They remind us of what is important and how our lives impact others. They challenge us. They inspire us. They incite action. They are intrical to who we are and to the foundation of our lives.

For now, let’s power down our powerpoints and put down our writing utensils. Let’s nestle in, leaving behind the concerns of the day. Let’s forget the past and focus on the present. Through the power of story, let’s discover more of who we are and the resources we have to meet the challenges which lie ahead. Let’s find out who or what changed over the course of story’s journey. Let’s experience the intrigue of what happened, how it happened and how it all came to be. Let’s move into action and gain inspiration from the protagonist or others who have gone before us. Let’s celebrate the victory of story’s success.

Great, so where do we go from here?

What is a problem or challenge does your audience needs to solve?

Who is the main character? (a worker, manager, client, patron …)

What obstacles have to be overcome? Pick a few of the key ones. It’s ok, even preferable if the protagonist doesn’t meet all of them. This is just life and part of what makes a story great!

What happens at the end?

How do they get there?

Who or what has changed?

What’s the most important point of your story?

Once you’ve formulated your story, tell it to a few supportive listeners or a storytelling coach. The job of supportive listeners is to listen; not to critique. Although, you might ask them what they liked about it or if they had any questions.

Facts, stats, and figures have their place. Yet stories engage us. They are easily remembered. They compel us to tell them again and again. For a story well-told is always the beginning; never the end.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey continue!

 

 

 

 

 

Goal Quest-ers to Story Seekers


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In reviewing the book, Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendal Haven, the word “goals” again appears in the multitude of letter-combining words and phrases on the pages in front of me. What! Goals? This is storytelling, not personal achievement, corporate conquest or athletic management; or so I alluded myself into thinking. But goals . . reading on, yes, of course goals, how simple! Stories are teaming with mischievous, magical, overachieving, dimwitted, crazed and deviant goal setters. The plot thickens with murderous intent; romantic conquest, riches unlimited; savory meals and hilarious, dim-witted drudgery. Goals spear a story forward into the eventful, how, where, when or why accolades of story’s unpredictable journey. Goals often comprise story’s navigational force and fortitude.

A trip down folktale lane sites a few infamous goal setting quest-ers and outcome adventurers:

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Norwegian Folktale)

  • The grass is always greener across the bridge, if only that loud-mouthed goat-guzzling troll would step aside.

Little Snow-White (German Folktale)

  • Seriously, four accounts of attempted murder against your own seven year old child?
  • Wild boar organs with a dash of human never tasted so good.

The Emperor’s New Clothes (Denmark Literary Tale)

  • Royally paid, nameless tailors sell the king on their cutting-edge, custom-designed, fabric-less new cloths.
  • Less than royal street gawkers, wonder if they should enact legal precedence and have this royally acclaimed stripper arrested for inappropriate, flabby and pornographic  exposure.
  • The king’s choice to maintain his legally, royally approved presence while parading through town royally exposed.

Character’s goal setting and adventurous outcomes define story’s cankerous unfolding. Goals support listener navigation through the guided or misguided intentions of its outlandish characters.  They further help story seekers step into character’s devious, mischievous, dimwitted, outwitted goal spearing adventures which lie ahead. Story’s plot is then built around the struggle, humor, adventure and wisdom of our goal quest-er’s journey.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Automobile Story Starters


legs-434918_1280This year’s, annual Auto-Mechanical Gas Guzzler’s Explo, features the latest in green automotive design and short-circuits in legislated, auto-emission standards. Participants from around the globe come to expand their knowledge base, spark their curiosity or succumb to their boss’s ultimatums. The percussion marketing of highly polished, gas guzzling cars, fuel the images of our mind’s internal dialogue:

“Too expensive.”
“Divorce court vs. motorized euphoria; weighing the options.”
“I know I can do it! At sixty plus hours of overtime each week, within 10 years, it will be mine!”
“Ignition key to dating ease. . . “

A car is a car. This is until the images story make this four-wheeled, prefabricated creation more than a standard, off-the-assembly line motorized vehicle. Emotion, meaning, change and drama transform this image into a story. Now rolling off the pre-assembled memory-lined banks of our mind’s eye, this car becomes an animated piece, part or aspect of our daily lives. For some it may become a career path while for others a fatality. No matter what its course, our car’s talk makes our story’s run; thus turning our prefabricated, motorized transportation into more than just a car.

One example of an image’s story-ification process is the ever dreaded, ill-fated, driver’s education road test. The very one which currently separates us from the constricted confines of parent approved, chauffeur services from the world of driver-independent, motorized freedom. The big day arrives. Masterfully fastening our seat belts and turning the key, reality hits. The reality of having locked ourselves inside a small metallic,
four-wheeled, accelerating, motorized structure with a complete stranger. One who has been exclusively state appointed and solely invested with the power to welcome us into the sacred realm of independent drivers; or to condemn us into retaking the dreaded, ill-fated road test yet again. At this point, the simple image of a car becomes the vividly vibrant foundation of this story’s unfolding.

Research and informational presentations deal primarily with facts. Story and story-based communication encompasses images, emotion and change. The place where life is as it is, change happens and life as it was, will never again be the same.

So . . . what is the story behind your first car?

What was your first car like?

Was it your dream car, filled with the tantalizing aroma of new car smell? The very one now adding a much needed jump start to your social life and a unexpected, fueled-spark of ignition to your love life.

. . . OR . . .

Was it a state of the arts jalopy, beater or rattletrap? The one where rubberized floor-mats strategically covered the rust-eaten-holes in your car’s floorboards; separating you from road spray’s loose debris and soggy splash backs.

What ever image you choose, fill it with emotion, suspense and intrigue. Then pile in and enjoy the ride into your next story’s adventurous unfolding.

Expect taken from Break Out Storytelling: A Leap off the Page Guide to Telling a Story by Grace Wolbrink.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!