How to Prepare a Story for Telling (Part 2)
Growing your story by pondering and imagining
Last Saturday, I described how I started preparing a story for telling.
In this email, I want to tell you how I am growing the story and allowing it to take root in me.
Why is that important?
There once was a master puppeteer. In his signature play, there was a scene where two puppets delivered a letter to the main character, a knight.
The content of the letter was not at all relevant to the play. Yet, each time, children approached the puppeteer to ask him what was written in the letter.
At some point, the puppeteer got tired of not having an answer and sat down to write the actual letter.
He changed nothing in his subsequent performances.
And yet, after having written down the letter, no children ever again came to ask about the letter's content.
True story, according to the storyteller who was friends with this puppeteer.
As a storyteller, you need to know far more about the story, its surroundings, its world, etc., than your listeners.
You are not supposed to tell all you know, but knowing it will shine through in your telling and give your listeners a much better experience.
So, how do I get to know my story better?
I ponder and imagine.
I ponder the characters' choices, why they do what they do, and why they react as they react. What are their motivations? What do they want in life?
I close my eyes and imagine the story's scenes, using the five senses to guide me. What do I see, hear, smell, taste, and touch?
This pondering and imagining takes time. Not necessarily vast chunks of time, but a little time each day.
As the story grows, my connection to the story strengthens.
As I care more, I start to care more.
Slowly, the story is taking root in me.
In the meantime, I try to tell the story as often as possible.
Pondering. Imagining. Telling.
I love to read your comments and ideas—next week, the third (and final?) part of this short series.