HOW TO GET STARTED WITH STORYTELLING

I'm so excited! My first requested list! Thanks, Sally! Here goes! Let's tell a story!
  1. The rules
    Most live and podcast Storytelling groups have a few basic rules. Time limit: most open mics are 5 minutes, some 10 minutes. Once people start asking you to perform you can get 10 or even 20 minutes. Typically, the stories must be true. You should be the a main character. (No, "this crazy thing happened to my cousin.") and your story should be on theme. Theme is next!
  2. Theme!
    Storytelling groups usually post their themes 2 weeks in advance. A theme will be something like: "water, tales that are slippery when wet." Themes are usually able to be interpreted a variety of ways. This one could be about a failed water-skiing attempt. (I have one of those) or the first time you fixed a pipe and that signified your independence. Feel free to play with it.
  3. Preparation
    Once I find the right tale for the night, I write it out long form. I try to remember any vivid details that the audience will respond to. Then I go back and edit out extra details that don't drive the story forward. Since you have a time limit, extra stuff can be discarded. Then, I make bullet points and picture each piece of the story as a bullet point. That way, I'm not memorizing the story word for word. Trust me, that sounds awful.
  4. Timing
    When I told my first story, I wasn't expecting the audience to react as much as they do! Storytelling audiences are really receptive. They know you're telling a real story and you're a regular person. Make sure you leave almost a minute of time for reactions. You want to let the audience laugh!
  5. Practice!
    After you have your story trimmed for time and your bullet points done, practice. Talk to yourself in the car, run it through mentally, try it on your co-workers. Remember, storytelling requires NO NOTES, so practice with no notes. The more you know your timed story, the more you can relax on stage!
  6. Have fun!
    Storytelling is fun and people really appreciate you sharing your life with them. Feel free to leave the embarrassing parts in the story. Tell people if you were afraid, guilty, sad. Vulnerability shows through in storytelling and it really makes your story real. Now, look online for some open mics in your area and get out there!