Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Storytelling for Writers
Listening to some great stories today during a storytelling performance session reminded me that the art of storytelling can be an excellent exercise for writers. To tell a story artfully, capturing the listener’s attention, a storyteller must know all the component parts of the narrative but then be able to stand apart and enliven the narrative with gestures, voice, and timing. It is not enough to just tell the story, the storyteller must be able to create the significance of the story in a manner that is dramatic enough to stay with the listener.

Writers follow the same path. They have to establish the components of their essay or article, but they also must consider the most effective way to get their readers to be receptive to their points. They must shape the significance of their thoughts so their readers cannot miss it, and at the same time they must create a tone in their writing that encourages receptivity in their reader.

As brainstorming or even an editing technique, a writer can gain from telling someone what he or she is trying to say. An additional step could be then to see if the reader finds that meaning in the writer’s words. We are always trying to find ways to make our writing better, a conversational (storytelling approach) could be a useful aid. After all, who doesn’t love a good story?

Of course, the old adage “Show, don’t tell” has to be kept in mind. Creating that sense of immediate experience is still of primary importance in any kind of writing. What I’m suggesting here with the conversational technique is more for the brainstorming or editing phase. 

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