Storytellers are people who share legends, beliefs, myths, and fables in
oral tradition settings. Not all stories are meant to be told this way and not
all people can tell stories. For those who want to develop or enhance their
storytelling skills, here are some suggestions that might be helpful. According
to Flora Joy of storynet.org many storytellers have asked the same questions.
Whether or not the storytelling is for personal or professional purposes, some
of the same techniques apply.
Where to begin?Joy’s response is “Find a story that you feel you will TRULY WANT to tell. If you aren’t "sold" on the story, it will "show" when you tell it. Your body language will reflect how much you like (or dislike) the story.”
Looking for your first story?There are several places. Consider the following:
(1) Ask a librarian for a collection of stories that might fit your interest.
(2) Look at your own personal life for inspiration and try to write a story that would appeal to your audience.
(3) Examine story collections you loved as a child.
(4) Explore the storytelling material in public domain.
(5) Listen to story recordings done by the professionals. Copyright principles will apply and permission will be required if you want to retell someone’s story.
How do you learn your story?Joy says: “There are several methods used by the pros. Probably the most common is as follows: Read the story over MANY times until the story’s "voice" becomes very familiar. Then practice with the first part of the story until it feels right coming from YOUR voice. Continue with each section of the story until you’ve reached its end.”
What to do when you’re ready?Joy suggests you practice your storytelling skills in front of an audience of listeners who you feel comfortable speaking to. Inform that audience that this is your first performance and ask for some positive and negative feedback afterward. Check out some local storytelling guilds if you feel you need to fine-tune your performances further.
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