I tell people that I fell into storytelling. Actually, I tripped, stumbled, and then fell into storytelling. I was actually trying to address the problem of finding more tools for teaching students in the fire service. Storytelling is one of the things I added. Storytelling now occupies a regular section of my life. It’s like checking the TV Guide and seeing a syndicated show. Better yet, in my life, storytelling as its very own channel. And it’s doing well.
I’m doing well enough in storytelling that I work to help others with their storytelling journey. Sometimes that is a formal class setting with Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP). Other times, it’s helping someone get ready for a show. Eventually, it will be in a coaching or consulting role. And once again, I am looking for more tools. One of the tools I’m focusing on at the moment is storytelling structure.
If you are not aware, there is a structure to stories that makes it easier for listeners to understand, follow, and keep an interest in the stories that are told. I’m sorry, did I say a structure? I meant, there are different structures. How many? Good question! That’s what I plan to look for over the next few m months.
One of the things I began to wonder when helping others with stories, is that I’m really just some version of The Hero’s Journey. It’s a good structure. I change the order and vary some parts. But mostly, this is what I use. But what if that structure doesn’t isn’t the best way for the person I am helping to tell the story they want? What if the style used in eastern storytelling would be better? Or the style used in folk tales? Just because I don’t do these regularly, doesn’t mean they are not useful. I really want to help someone tell the personal narrative story they want the world to hear, I need to make sure I can provide that tool for them to use.
I’m pretty sure I am not the first to ask a question like this. Cooper Braun-Enos, Mist Mator, and Better Said Than Done are just a few I have seen doing interesting things with storytelling structure. I like it. And I want more. So to that end, I plan to do research over the next few months to figure out how to best explain what different storytelling structures are out there, and how people can use it.
So What’s next?
I attended an Artist Standing Strong Together (ASST) online, weekly meeting last Monday and talked about what I am planning. I got great suggestions and places to look. This series will follow what I compile what I am learning along the way. It won’t be every post I do, and it will probably take a few months. But I think in the end, it will be a great tool to help people tell their story on purpose.