Story Telling Tip No 1

We live life moment to moment.  Sounds like a statement of the bleeding obvious and it is, but it is one that we can forget when we come to find, craft and tell stories from our own experience.
 
In everyday conversations we can, and we often do, summarise when we tell about our lives; we talk in broad brushstrokes, sweeping our words over hours, days, weeks, months and years. 
 
But the best stories, the stories we want to craft for telling, the ones that draw our listeners in whether they like it or not, are the stories that take us into moments, take us to the place where it was felt, seen, heard, or realised.
 
In writing there is a classic instruction of ‘show don’t tell’, meaning show us a picture, don't tell us about it, and it is just as applicable for oral storytelling.   (Of course the skill is also in knowing when to tell and when to show, like adjusting the focus on a telecope.)
 
New storytellerscommonly make the mistake of only telling.  They tell their story as if they were telling us the summary of a movie.  But the summaryof a movie is not the movie; we’d all go home if the movie never took us into the blow by blow moments of how the story plays out.
 
This is particularlylikely for tellers if they have a strong purpose in telling their story, a lesson they have learned they want to share; they see the big picture journey,  the path they took, the overall narrative, and they end up telling us about their story, but not the actual story.
 
Let me try an illustrate this with an example:
My boss was horrible and I ended up leaving that job because I couldn’t stand the way I was treated. 

If this is one tiny part of a bigger story that is nothing to do with how you are treated or that job, and you simply need to explain that you left the job, then this is an adequate summary.
 
But if this is the guts of the story, or a substantial part of it, in order to really grip us in this narrative we need details, we need to see the boss, hear a specific example (or several) of what they did/said, how that made us feel in that moment,  (as a teller you often actually re-experience the feeling).  Then we need to be told about the internal journey, the emotions and thoughts – the hurt, fear, anger or exhilaration, that lead to the realisation that you are going to search for a better situation.
 
So this is my number tip today, take us into the moment.  Without moments we are never in the life of the story - because life is lived in moments.