There is an art to being a storyteller. I aspire to be that. I also aspire to be a writer. I believe I am both, but I just hope others believe the same thing. It’s funny but recently I have been talking with some of my friends that these do not necessarily go hand in hand.
I have a sister who was picked on horribly by some of my younger brothers and sisters. Her stories went a little long – and I sometimes wonder if she didn’t try to read how interested people were and embellish – just a little. Anyhow, my siblings called her, Rose (from the Golden Girls) whenever her stories were getting a little long. She is now a much better storyteller, but I think that it damaged her self-esteem a little early on when it came to storytelling – so that is not my recommendation.
Some of the people I know who are the worst storytellers – writers. I am not sure why but there is a lot of time I want to say, ‘too much exposition – get to the point.’ And yet they are the same ones who critique my peers on using too much exposition.
LOL – not sure what my point is here, but I do believe there is an art to good storytelling. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Have a story to tell.
- Get to the point – evaluate ‘is the extra build-up or follow-up necessary.’ Often I believe it is not, most of the people I am talking to are not stupid and needing to be walked through the story and if they need to know more they ask questions.
- Don’t ask the questions yourself – if your listeners aren’t asking, it probably wasn’t relevant to the story, or interesting enough for them to identify questions.
- Know your audience – if it’s offensive to certain populations, maybe it is best told to those one or two people who know you well enough to tolerate you even when you offend. And if it is in the field they work with or related to someone they know – you don’t need a long explanation of who or why it’s important. Which leads me to my final point –
- If you have to explain why it’s a good story to tell, you are probably wrong.
If you think of any points I may have missed – feel free to leave them in the comments.
So about ten days ago, I spent a lot of time investigating some online magazines and their guidelines. I have considered doing some of these for quite awhile, and found one which I was really interested in – gud magazine – but they were on a submission hold. However, by cruising around their site a little, I was able to discover some other sites. I remember one – though not offhand that I submitted to, only took something like 48 hours to reject my submission.
The funny thing is that I was telling some friends about it and was kind of excited – it was a site which would not accept simultaneous submissions, so it was nice to know early on that they were not going to accept it so I could submit it somewhere else. By then the time that the other magazine was starting to accept submissions again – and I was so sure, I knew this would be the magazine for it – they took 6-ish days to reject me. Not as fun the second time around.
Oh well, more opportunities out there, I just gotta get looking, right?
I have been very disappointed in myself with writing the blog as of late. I am trying to get back into more of pattern that will challenge me to post more often. I am in these two newsgroups and have recently loved the challenges that one of them is bringing to me. There is a woman who is trying to get more interaction on the newsgroup going – she is posting questions about writing and people are responding. So far they have been very interesting: What are you reading? How do you write (pen and paper or computer), roll call and getting to know your characters.
Some of these are ones I have blogged about in the past, like the character development. The one that really provoked me to do a lot of thinking was the one on how do you write. I always thought that I was being ‘less productive’ and not keeping up with the times because I tend to write – pen to paper. It’ll happen in the most unusual times and places as well – and I will write on whatever I can find that will work as paper and welcome the pen that I am using.
I have tried typing my initial story on the computer – but always seem to fail because either I am distracted or just get tired of sitting at the computer and typing. When I look at the short stories I have written – everyone completed one of them was written first from pen to paper. So it got me thinking about why I do this and I wonder if it has to do with the whole editing portion of the computer. I think I try and edit as I write when I am typing, but when it is pen to paper – it just keeps coming out with a speed and focus that I can’t seem to get on the computer. Though I am a much faster at typing on the computer than I am writing by hand.
So now that I have identified this, that offers a new challenge – either get writing more with pen and paper or learn to write without editing on the computer – one would be faster than the other. Both have just as many inconvenient steps as they do convenient ones. The pen and paper route really allows for me to write just about anywhere – that means I have to carry paper with me wherever I go. Pen and paper is slow for me to transfer to the computer – seems to be my first edit. The computer is just faster and it is right there for me to edit after I finish; however, doesn’t seem to be something that I do well at doing (although I do seem to be able to do it in my blogs).