"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

04 April 2015

Day 4 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge: Tips, Techniques and Reflections of a StoryCoach

D is for Dialogue

My approach to story is dialogic; that is, I encourage dialogue or conversations with stories. We talk to stories and listen to what they have to say. We get to know the characters within stories, not just the protagonist and antagonist but the marginal characters too. In fact, I like to have storytellers re-tell stories from different perspectives. Try “Little Red Riding Hood” from the Wolf’s point of view or Grandma’s or even the basket of goodies “Little Red” is carrying. Who’s stories are not being told within a story? Explore those, listen and learn.

"The Dialogue" by Julia Margaret Cameron
And finally, while we’re on the topic of dialogue, may I offer one particular technique? It’s the simple “turning of the head” from left to right to simulate a conversation between characters. Decide if one character is taller or smaller than the other and indicate this with the angle of your head when speaking. Jack would look up when talking to the Giant and the Giant, of course, would look downward. It sounds obvious but many storytellers tell the dialogue rather than show it. Also, try eliminating the “he said” and “she said” indicators found in texts. Use your voice, head position, and relevant body gestures to indicate who is speaking. Such dialogue techniques will help you tell the story in a way common to oral rather than written storytelling and liberate you from the printed page. Your storytelling will come alive, I can guarantee that.

Extract from the forthcoming ebook The ABCs of Storytelling: Tips, Techniques and Reflections from a StoryCoach by Michael Williams, Ph.D.  © Michael Williams 2015

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

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Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

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