Using Prompts to Create Storytelling

-by Ellouise Schoettler

bottom view of a an old book on a table the book has a red cover and the edges of the paper are gold colorPeople ask how I craft the personal stories I tell. “They come from prompts.” By that, I mean that if I pay attention, I find that anything and everything can lead me to a possible story. It will work for you too. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples of how I gather material for stories.

We furnished our get-away in PA with cast-off stuff. When I notice what is around me there, story possibilities emerge. For instance, I use an old suitcase in my bedroom to hold art supplies. This suitcase was a high school graduation present from my parents. This old and frayed suitcase is my connection to a host of stories from specific trips to the nylon stockings ripped to shreds by its scratchy woven sides.
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Laryngitis Amongus- Tips and Suggestions

a cup of tea on a saucer. you can see the tag from the teabag. the cup and saucer are white china(This article originally appeared in 2002. It’s not medical advice. Consult with a health professional if you have medical needs.)

Insert melodramatic music, storytellers. Recently, right before a storytelling gig, I woke up unable to talk. Oh, I knew something had been brewing in my body, as I had felt in ill health for a day or so. In fifteen and more years of speaking, I had never had a case of laryngitis. Was it time to panic? “Where could I turn? What can I do? Who will pay the rent? Save me, my heroes.”

Enter the “Storytell Listserv-” four hundred men and women who love stories and telling and freely share their ideas and tips. I asked the list for some emergency recovery tips. Thanks to the members of the “Storytell” list, (who took time to send me their great ideas), I finally settled on a combination of Echinacea and a fine peppermint tea.

Here are the great tips sent by the Storytell list, which Charlene, our new Village-Post editor, has consolidated and accredited. Now, remember, we here at aren’t doctors and aren’t even pretending to prescribe treatment for you. Use any of these suggestions at your own risk- always consult a physician if you are ill.
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How to Tell a Tale

sean buvala storyteller tells a tale how to be a storytellerThink about storytellers you have seen. What do they do to bring the story to life? Who were your favorite professors, teachers, preachers, and politicians? What techniques did they employ to hold your attention, to make ideas come to life?

Different personalities tell stories differently. The most important thing is to find a presentation style that suits your personality. With this said there are a few general techniques to consider:

Use your VOICE to create characters, express emotions, and experiment with pacing, tone, accents and sound effects. Use your BODY language, facial expressions and gestures to convey the unspoken and reinforce the words you are speaking.
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Reboot is in the process of an update and a reboot. Be patient. This is a manual process. Find the latest articles here. Find stories to hear here. Find the Amphitheater podcasts here.

All the articles and features you have always liked, as well as new ideas and content, will be here soon.

(Podcast) Interview with Connie Regan-Blake

Connie Regan-Blake was on the forefront of the contemporary storytelling revival in the United States. Having been a storyteller since the 1970s, when storytelling as a modern communication method was nearly unheard of outside of a few regional areas, she’s seen some changes and challenges to the storytelling art form. In this Amphitheater interview conducted before an event at the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute, Sean Buvala ( director) and Connie discuss a variety of those issues as well as a current project that Connie is involved in.

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