How to Be a Good Storyteller by @ErinMFeldman
The focus on why storytelling is important seems to be changing. People now want to know “how” to tell their stories. It’s a shift I don’t mind. I already believe in the power of storytelling; it’s time to focus on how to be a good storyteller.
When I think about good storytellers, I think of my mom. My mom read to me and my brothers when we were kids. We looked forward to hearing her read, which is a characteristic of a good storyteller. People want to hear a good story told by a good storyteller.
How to tell a story, then, often has more to do with the storyteller than the story itself. Storytellers have to be excited about their tales. They can’t tell the story simply because they are required to do so; a sense of obligation tends to weigh upon them. It presents itself in a variety of ways, but apathy and monotony are the frequent symptoms.
Storytellers also have to have a voice. The reason I enjoyed my mom’s reading was that she read the stories in her own way. She added emphasis where the punctuation indicated it. She used a silly accent for certain characters. She would quiet her voice to indicate a suspenseful or scary mood, then use a louder voice when the monster or villain made an appearance. Her voice turned the story into a stage in which the characters, the setting, and the action came to life.
Telling a story online requires both excitement and voice, although they may, at first glance, seem harder to convey. How does one express excitement in a blog post? The answer isn’t found in using a multitude of exclamation points; the answer is found in the writer’s attitude toward the story being told. A writer who is excited to tell a story can’t help but to exude excitement when he or she tells it. It reveals itself in both a care for the words that are chosen and for how those words are placed. Eventually, that excitement becomes a voice. The writing becomes recognizable, and the readers know who is speaking even without the aid of a byline. The readers become attentive to it, and they start to return more frequently because they want to hear more of the story told by a good storyteller.
Featured image courtesy of jseattle via creative commons on Flickr.