Listen Up!

Here’s an excerpt from a lecture master storyteller Jay O’Callahan gave on the art of storytelling.

Answering the question of whether you can craft a told story, O’Callahan weaves in and out of three beautifully told stories to explain the art of storytelling. Throughout the lecture he speaks often of the importance of listening – when to listen, when not to listen, what it means to be a listener.

He says that STORIES are comprised of 4 things:

People
Place
Trouble
And Resolution

He also says that when you are first crafting a story you need 4 things:

Listener: Tell your story to a good listener, someone who will feel the story with you and just be with it.

Appreciations: Learn from the appreciations your listener shares with you. What caught the listener’s ear? What image caught the listener’s eye? What gave the listener pause? etc.

Suggestions: Listen to suggestions and criticism but only when the story is strong, only when the story can support itself. He says:

What I don’t need, when I just first tell [a story], I don’t need, “Well, the story is a little rough.” Of course it’s a little rough! I just tried it! Of course it’s a little rough. It’s like saying to a newborn baby, “You’re nice, but you can’t walk.”

Imagination: When we were little our imaginations were limitless. As we get older our minds grow older and more critical. A way to free our mind is to tell a story.

Now go forth and listen well!

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