The Mastery Path for Writers: a new way to learn the skills you need

Story Lesson 4: Telling Stories

December 28, 2014

Tags: 6. Making Stories

In oral cultures, when someone wants to learn to tell stories, she or he undergoes a process of learning that is quite different from what we typically engage in in school. First, an aspiring storyteller has to listen to lots and lots of stories, and she may have listen to the same story a number of times. Without writing, she can only absorb the story into memory by receiving it through her ears, and by letting it sink into her subconscious. (The faculty of memory is, as you might expect, developed among oral peoples to a degree we would consider phenomenal.) (more…)

Story Lesson 3: Listening to Story

December 14, 2014

Tags: 6. Making Stories

The Value of Story
In oral cultures, the storyteller was highly valued. That’s because, in addition to entertainment, he or she preserved in story the traditions and values of the culture. The storyteller was cultural historian, teacher, and repository of wisdom. Jane Yolen points this out in her introduction to a collection of folktales from around the world: (more…)

Story Lesson 2.1: The World of Story (continued)

December 9, 2014

Tags: 6. Making Stories

Let me tell you a story…

Ah, the magic of those six words! The invitation to sit back, relax, and surrender ourselves to the power of story. We can all recognize the voice of a writer who is a great storyteller:

In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit…

Marley was dead, to begin with…

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again…

Once upon a time there lived a poor woodcutter who had three sons…

The voice of a storyteller on the page, just like the voice of an oral teller, grabs our attention, makes us want to keep listening, keep turning the pages. Can we learn to do have that kind of hold on our readers? Yes, we can. But we need first to understand a few things about what a story is. (more…)