Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Basics of Storytelling: First Things First

The Basics of Storytelling: First Things First

One of the first things learned in school was that a story has three parts: a beginning, middle, and an end.  The secret to the success of the final product depends on how those elements are used.  Think of a car since it also has minimally three components: body, tires, and engine. The end result will be much better if the parts are put together in a logical whole where each part performs the function it is best suited to perform. 

Visualize the parts of the story as a mountain you are attempting to climb. Analyze a story of your choice into scenes or movements representing the BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END elements.    Notice that the beginning will include some introduction that sets the stage, introduces characters, explains the problem and PULLS THE READER/LISTENER IN.   The middle section will connect the events, contain the action, propels the story forward to the CLIMAX. Here the problem is faced and solved.  The end of the story comes quickly after the high point of the story seen in the climax and presents the RESOLUTION to almost all the problems, and challenges that propelled the action in the story.  Like guests at the end of a party, be brief and quickly conclude the story.

Stories come in various forms.  Some tellers find that they have a natural strength in one or more of these, some can work with ease through them all, be aware each is individual – find the voice that is true and comfortable for you.

Folk tales
Family / personal
Fairy Tales
Inspirational / Religious
Science and  Pour quoi Tales
Humorous Tales
Lesson / moral tales
Jump tales & trickster tales
Some of the most common means of sharing stories:
Read aloud from a written work. 
Oral Storytelling. 
Musical story/songs.  
Acting out/ theatrical. 
Tandem told stories. 
 Visual expression 


Make a list of several stories or films that you really enjoy.  What do you like about each one? What do these have in common? What does this say about you and your culture? What are the negative aspects of these same works?   What do the negative elements say about you, and your upbringing?  Would your parents or grandparents have appreciated these same stories or books?  Why or why not?

--Marilyn A. Hudson (c2011)

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