Monday, February 27, 2017

Tell Me A Story

Do you remember an elderly person opening a dusty book and reading you a bedtime story? With a small bedside light the story was at a slow pace full of sounds and voices and make-believe as you snuggled under piles of blankets. Sometimes the story was stopped and accented by remarkable tales not printed.
No book you sit down with to read can compare to being read to. Reading a story by yourself means you have to use your own experiences and imagination to visualize the characters, but the spoken voice inflections point your thoughts into new realms of wonder. Like an old radio series that held our breathless attention for hours, pirates have a certain voice and cowboys have a certain sound and you held on tight during a car chase.
When there is no book or reader we have several options. We can lose ourselves in the mass of the macabre called media or close our eyes to be engulfed in music that is just another form of reading black dots. Another option is to sit face-to-face with another human being and tell each other stories.
For telling stories is how we communicate. All the plays and books (even that technical stuff) and movies and television (even the commercials) are just stories. Tall tales or factual historical documentaries, everyone has a story.
Meeting a new person is to find out their story. Once you get passed the labels and become interested enough due to their presentation, you ask to hear their story. Each one is different and though maybe some cross referencing, like a fingerprint is unique to only one.
Some say the 10 best ways to ‘write’ a story is:
1.      Write In One Sitting

2.      Develop Your Protagonist

3.      Create Suspense and Drama

4.      Show, Don’t Tell

5.      Write Good Dialogue

6.      Write About Death

7.      Edit Like a Pro

8.      Know the Rules, Then Break Them

9.      Defeat Writer’s Block

10.   Share Your Work

This may be well to think of before you share your story is a bit of preparation. What do you want to achieve from telling your story? Do you intend to impress the other person with your accoutrements or prestige or knowledge or wealth? Do you wish to impart emotional baggage?

What do you hope to get in return? A sale? Employment? A laugh? A person who will follow you home to perform illicit acts of devious behavior until exhaustion sets in?

Remember you are the protagonist of your story so make it worth the listen. Get your details straight. Was it Rome or Paris? Was she a red head or a blonde? Add points that you think your listener might relate to. It keeps them interested.

If you are going to relay an overheard story, put your spin on it or it is just a boring carbon copy. Don’t use audio visual aids but include landmarks, seasons, locations and events that relate to the story. If you need pie charts and graphs you will probably need a fact check and footnotes.

A good story can make others laugh or cry or bond or ponder or find an idea to reply to. A bad story is just blowing out words filling up the air and wasting time so know when to draw the curtain.

So tell me a good story while I slip off to la-la-land. No Moonlight.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

Three favorite volumes of stories:
Winesburg, Ohio
In Our Time

...or anything told in visual form by Mr. Hitchcock.