What is Storytelling?
It is the technique of relating something personal in your life from a subjective point of view.
Storytelling has a theme, a purpose and a moral.
The story should exist mainly for the purpose of showing how you have ‘grown’ emotionally through it and it should impart a value to others who are reading it.
Storytelling is powerful, personal and morally uplifting.
And….this is the best part.
Those who are really good at storytelling have a captive audience.
A captive what?
A captive audience means that you have managed to get the interest of people who are prepared to listen further to you.
It simply means that you have them hooked.
Uhuh. And what exactly does storytelling have to do with Secondary 2 students?
It has a lot to do with Secondary 2 students.
When do you use storytelling techniques in Secondary 2?
It is only in Secondary 2 that you will discover your compositions and presentations tend to have a higher standard.
You need to do more than just write about the weather, the main punchline and the exalted ending.
This is the year when you test the waters when you write.
You need to start to write expository essays.
You will be required to present your views in oral tests and you will be expected to give an opinion based on the extent of your experience.
Your Reflective compositions are about storytelling. You are required to write experientially and pose questions which reflect your personal struggle.
You may be asked to write a narrative, reflective or personal recount essay.
All 3 genres involve storytelling especially if it is focussed on a ‘purpose’ or ‘result.’
All compositions in this genre depend on storytelling to achieve a positive impact.
Approach to Storytelling
Ok. So, we now know exactly what storytelling is but how do you actually tell a story?
Is it about a childhood enactment? Is it about tracing one’s life story?
Yes and No.
The first rule of thumb is to have a ‘lesson’ or ‘purpose’ in mind before you write it.
You cannot simply write about any part of your life and expect that to qualify as ‘storytelling.’
The main feature of storytelling is to “state how you got to be what you are today.”
That is the best way to sum up Storytelling.
“How you got to be What You Are Today”
That is quite a mouthful isn’t it? It may be but that is exactly what storytelling is.
You have to remember 2 important factors when you decide to begin:
1. The point when it began
2. Your moral/ emotional growth to be the person you are today.
If I were to trace an Arc in my experience, I would have to CHOOSE a particular point when this story began.
It may be partly fiction or wholly true.
Never ever rely on complete fiction as it will sound fallacious.
I could choose to write from a time when I was a teenager and fell quite ill.
Then I could trace that time to the part when I began to get stronger both physically and emotionally.
I will end by saying that I was now really successful with a wonderful career and a loving family.
This is storytelling in a nutshell.
The second rule of thumb is You have to END on a glowing note.
The revelation of who you are NOW is of the quintessence.
The NOW You have to be a wiser, saner, more stable and successful or happier YOU.
After all, there has to be a point to telling this story isn’t it?
Ok, now I think you are beginning to see the Light.
Once you understand what Storytelling is all about, you can start working on your Techniques.
I have already mentioned 2 important techniques – When it began and How the Present You have benefitted from it and become wiser, happier.
Once you know when to pivot your story from, you have to start plotting the important points in your journey which gave you the learning experience.
And always keep going until you come to that present tense YOU.
What you want to be at the end of your story is subjective.
You have to keep the Golden Rule in mind that it should be realistic and satisfying.
It should prompt the reader or listener to think ‘wow!’
That is the effect you should be reaching out to.
And never exaggerate the effect.
It causes the entire story to flop because no one will believe it.
There has to be credibility in the art of Storytelling.
After all, you need a captive audience isn’t it?
And remember, it is not as difficult as it seems.
Just remember the 2 simple rules and start plotting your Story today.