Stories from the Pandemic: Part 1 by Kate Farrell

Story Power author Kate Farrell has just uploaded the first part of her “Stories from the Pandemic” series, take a look!

So much of what we’re experiencing during the social isolation of the pandemic, secluded inside, is the sameness. Hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into months in a blur. Yet we are aware of the health dangers, the political turmoil, the unusual, up-side-down feelings of the unknown.

However, some days were more memorable because something happened that was out of the “new normal” routine. As time goes on, we may forget those days or incidents. Yet these are critical, historic times.

We all have extraordinary stories to tell from the pandemic.

The first step is to find one to tell. Select an experience with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Storytelling requires more than a simple observation or a vignette with little or no plot.

As you read these prompts, think of an experience that is both vivid and contains basic story elements.

Prompts

What incident during the pandemic was surprising or unusual?

It could be a series of incidents over time, with benchmarks or it could be a single incident.

What happened that presented a challenge, one that you overcame?

What was your most memorable event, live or virtual, during this time?

What was one creative way you solved a problem and adapted to new circumstances? How did that happen?

Be sure to select an incident that has a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a narrative arc.

  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Conflict, tension
  • Narrative arc of rising action, increasing tension
  • Sensory images within the action
  • Dialogue within the action
  • Resolution of conflict

Jot down the key moments: setup, action, tension, outcome.

How to develop a story with a complete narrative arc:

Sample “Zoom Studio”

In this challenging incident, the action took place over a few weeks, but it was an intense experience with virtual interactions and had all the elements of a complete story.

1. Exposition: Describe the context or setting
I was invited to be part of a Zoom storytelling slam in April to take place in May. But I had just moved into a tiny studio apartment with no wiggle room and few staging options for a virtual event.

2. Challenge – Tension, conflict, Rising action
Problems of set up: lighting, higher position of laptop, moving furniture Anxieties about age, appearance

3. Creating the virtual setup: Rising Action
New folding table, laptop setup, floor lamp, moving items and testing
Unable to shop for items. CV restrictions. Limited budget and space.

4. Tech night rehearsal: Rising Action
Producers gave advice on tech staging, use of app, timing, run through. Review and practice looking at camera, not at the screen or others

5. Live Performance: Climax
Set up and storytelling worked. Came in second by one vote. Positive feedback. Age issue not relevant.

6. Resolution
Ready for the next live virtual event!

In Part Two, we’ll discuss how to craft the story for telling using a storyboard or outline of keywords.


Story Power by Kate Farrell

Story power

Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories

Stories are everywhere. The art of storytelling has been around as long as humans have. And in today’s noisy, techy, automated world, storytelling is not only prevalent—it’s vital. Whether you’re interested in enlivening conversation, building your business brand, sharing family wisdom, or performing on stage, Story Power will show you how to make use of a good story.