The Inner Workings of the Storyteller's Art
The best way to become an effective teller is to gain much experience telling. Sometimes the listeners will be appreciative; at other times they will not. Both positive and negative experiences can tutor us. In order to build confidence, it is helpful for a teller to have personal standards or criteria by which to assess their own work. Since storytelling is a live art form, stories can evolve and change. Often work is shared before it is fully developed. A teller will have to tell a story many times to discover how it affects audiences.
The following are some criteria that the teller alone can assess, for they refer to the inner experience of the teller.
- How comfortable did I feel in front of the group this time?
- Memory Lapse
- Did I have any moments where the thread of the plot was lost?
- Did my mind wander off the storytelling task at hand?
- Personal Pleasure
- Did I enjoy telling the story?
- Did I realize anything new about the storytelling experience or the story while telling?
Note: A journal is an effective way to personally document and assess development as a teller
- Personal Best:
- Developing personal criteria allows tellers to take pride in where they are developmentally in the art. Each teller might have different criteria at different times and with different stories. While one teller struggles with nervousness, another might be exploring the timing for moments of comedy. The first teller's criteria might be: "Did I stay calm?" while another's might be, "Did people respond as I expected by laughing at the parts I discovered were amusing?"
The following are some criteria that the audience alone can assess, for they refer to the personal experience of the listener.
- Could I hear the teller?
- Did the characters seem believable and real to me?
- Did the teller keep my interest and attention?
- Did the story create images in my mind?
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