Saturday, April 23, 2011

April Showers: Storytellers

Hi, folks, today is the last in a series of April Showers. Today I'm going to talk about what brings showers to my soul and this is the multitude of voices. I love to write and shape stories, but I also love to hear the stories of others. I had the great privilege of being born into a family of storytellers. My mother's family comes out of Louisville, Mississippi. They spun yarns like nobody's business.

A great lesson of the storytellers is to practice listening. Make time in your life to hear the stories of others. Think about the questions to ask. Ask the right questions and who knows what you will unlock. I like to ask, "What do you know that no one else knows?" I especially like to ask children this question. These questions always lead to great stories too: "What was the most important moment in your life?" "Have you ever seen anyone die?" "What's the greatest injustice that you've ever seen?" So ask some juicy questions and listen. Take notes or record the conversation. Writers keep the records of who we are and what we want, so listen up.

Another great storyteller lesson is to revise to get your audience interested. I have seen master storytellers in action, and if their audience begins to yawn or heads begin to bob, master storytellers up their game. They bring in more action, more drama, more pathos, more comedy, more. They let this stuff flood in. A great storyteller knows folks need to lean on the edge of their seat, they need to cry, they need belly laughs. Stories need to feel alive. If you don't feel that excitment in your work you might need to up your game this week.

Glad you dropped by. I hope you listen to a story or up your game. Water your work.

This week's doodle: "A Place of Dreams".

A quote about stories:

These stories were the libraries of our people. In each story, there was recorded some event of interest or importance...A people enrich their minds who keep their history on the leaves of memory. Luther Standing Bear, Lakota.


Faith Pray said...

I want to tell stories like that. I use my hands a lot when storytelling, which doesn't translate well on the page or spoken. Writing conferences and books on wordcraft are my storyteller school - they teach me about pauses, suspense, hushing and climbing, depth and pacing. I love listening to good storytellers. When I'm ninety, I hope to achieve a good yarn.

MollyMom103 said...

I have such great memories of all the stories. My heart is full up of that stuff. I hope I can tell a good story when I am ninety too. Thank you for dropping by, You always make me feel like a neighbor somehow. Peace. M.

Vijaya said...

Oh, Deborah Wiles talked about this ... so true. We missed you Molly. Have a beautiful and blessed Easter season.