Check out this post by Kate Farrell author of Story Power
Storytelling is the most effective means of communication because it always seeks an audience—after all, it is a telling art. With its roots in the oral tradition, the teller and listener both participate in the shared experience of story making.
The newly released book, Story Power: Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories, draws on the experience of more than twenty experts, award-winning authors, poets, and tellers, who contribute their techniques and model their stories.
One of the most talented contributors to the book is Mary Mackey, author of fourteen novels including The Village of Bones and The Year The Horses Came, which describe how the peaceful Goddess-worshiping people of Prehistoric Europe fought off patriarchal nomad invaders. Mary’s novels have made The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists, been translated into twelve foreign languages, sold over a million and a half copies. Mary is also the author of eight collections of poetry including The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams, winner of the 2019 Erich Hoffer Award for the Best Book Published by a Small Press and a 2018 Women’s Spirituality Book Award.
Mary Mackey’s excellent advice for creating and crafting stories is to make a personal connection, first and foremost. In storytelling, the live audience is a participant from the very beginning. Mary suggests that a simple story structure that begins with a catastrophe, a world turned on its head is the most dramatic and engaging. But all tales told that grab the ear of the audience will connect.
MARY MACKEY’S STORYTELLING TIPS
A sense of audience is your most important asset: Whether I am writing a personal story, a poem, or a novel, I am always intensely aware of my audience. I select stories that are exciting, stories my readers will find interesting, informative, and entertaining. I resist the urge to write diary-like entries of interest only to me.
Never bore your audience: I work hard to make reading my stories easy. I make sure they are well-paced and move seamlessly from moment to moment. I cut needless words. I polish my sentences, and make sure they are not confusing. Confuse and bore your audience, and you lose them.
Use concrete detail: Generalizations are boring and colorless. I am very specific. I draw my readers in by vividly describing the world I am creating. I don’t just say “ants came down the wall.” I say they came “in a black, seething river six feet wide and several inches deep.”
Disasters can be opportunities: Never underestimate the storytelling possibilities of a catastrophe. Over the years, I have found that the worst things that have happened to me make the best stories.
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.