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How do you view yourself as a storyteller?

  • Recall a storyteller you have known or observed and some of his/her memorable stories.
  • Make a list of the elements that made these tales memorable. Was it plot, or character development, or setting? Was the storyteller adept at the technical details: creating drama? reproducing dialogue? setting a scene? Did the subject matter interest you? (Remember: the drama of the subject is not enough by itself. We’ve all known people who have bored us to tears as they narrated “exciting” elements of a divorce, lawsuit or accident, etc.)
  • How did this storyteller see himself as a storyteller? Was he, and the tale, memorable because of his perception: the depth of insight? his conviction or compassion? Was it his moral authority (i.e., sense of the importance of the story’s message)? What relationship did the teller have to the story: Was he an active participant or an observer? Was he sympathetic to or disengaged from his subject? Was he humorous or dramatic? How did this relationship affect the stories?
  • Of the qualities you identified above, which ones do you possess? Which ones do you think you can acquire?
  • Did you know another storyteller whose stories were less successful? What was it that was missing—or present in the wrong proportions? (Sometimes we can learn a lot from what doesn’t work!)
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