Before anyone can understand the principles of good storytelling, you first must first know the definition of storytelling. The National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as, “the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.”
As children, one of the very first storytellers that we are introduced in our lives is Dr. Seuss. In my opinion, next to grandmother, he is the best storyteller! Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination. Please read the excerpts below from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat.
And Sally and I did not
know what to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on
there that day?”
“Well… what would YOU do
If your mother asked you?”
-Quotes from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat
There are some key ideas in Dr. Seuss’ style that could lead us all to being good storytellers. Let’s take a look at three very important factors in good storytelling:
1. Your reader or audience must be engaged.
Most importantly when telling a story, Dr. Seuss is engaging. When your reader or audience is engaged, they want to know more. Your story can engage audiences/readers through interaction like questions or it can engage your audience by a personal connection to a story about personal experiences. When telling a story, especially in a blog, you should paint a picture for your audience. When they are using their imaginations, they are more likely to stay engaged.
2. Your story shouldn’t be too long that you lose your audience’s attention.
Dr. Seuss’ or Theodor Giesel was once dared to write a children’s short story with 250 words or less using a selection of certain words. He won this dare with a short story that that we now know to be “The Cat in the Hat” which is one of the most popular children’s books to date. In Dr. Seuss’ books he gets to the point quickly and the stories still remain enjoyable and most importantly memorable. William Lee and Rick Patrick, co-creators of Talkingstick, suggest that stories should be kept simple because the brain could get overwhelmed when processing too much information.
3. Be aware of the flow of your story.
Your story must have a beginning and end. The beginning of story is very important because this is where you first capture your readers attention. The end of a story is where you can you can conclude any important points. The core or spine of the story should also flow. All parts of the story should tie together, continuing to create a picture for your reader or audience. If you go astray, so could your reader.
When following the three suggestions above, you are definitely on your way to a good story. Always remember to engage your reader, never have too much information and make sure you story flows. When blogging, it’s also helpful to include pictures and videos to aid your story. Visuals yield memory.