The first step to
telling your own story is to write it. The idea for your story may be
based on an old tale or come from an original plot, but it must be put
into your own words and, then, told with your own style of telling. There
are many ways to tell the same story. I always imagine the stories I perform
as plays in which I can be all the characters, and my words can also construct
the sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and sensations of the imaginary world
of the story. When you learn to tell a story, you must imagine "as if
you were there." Just as you do when you perform in a play.
Choose a favorite
folktale from your school library or one of the multicultural folktales
from our Booklist. Click
here to Booklist.
Make an outline of each important plot point of the tale in beginning,
middle, and end order. This outline is a map that will remind us where
the story is going, even if we experiment by taking a few detours. As
you create your own version of the story, you may want to add details
and scenes that no one has ever thought of before. The oral tradition
of storytelling has passed stories down through the ages and all around
the world. In all those tellings, many new versions have been created.
Don't be afraid to add your voice to this rich oral tradition.
Now, start writing your first scene. Look at your outline and brainstorm.
Work in a group to get lots of ideas. You may discover new actions to
add to your outline or change the order of the outlined actions. You may
make several outlines before you are done.
Ask yourself these
questions about the new scene you will be writing. Your answers are the
building blocks of the scene.
(See it all in your head as if you are watching a play.)
Who is in the scene?
What is happening?
Why is there a problem?
Where and when does the scene take place?
Can you describe what the setting looks like?
Who comes on stage?
What are they doing?
Why are they stopped?
By whom? By what?
List the seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching details of the pretend world of the play.
Imagine you can hear what the characters are saying. The conversation
between characters in a play is called dialogue. Together imagine and
talk out the dialogue of the scene. One person can be the scribe and writes
it down with the name of the character written above the words being spoken.
Take turns being different characters. Pretend to walk and talk like them.
On your own, imagine that you are one of the characters in the play.
Write down the story from your point of view. Be sure to describe what
you see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. Pretend to be the character and
speak this story out loud. A character's long speech in a play is called
a monologue. Share these monologues with your team so you get to know
all the characters in the play.
Now, imagine you are the audience. Using pieces of the dialogue, the
monologues, and the descriptive details which you and your friends have
already written, write a new version of the story describing the whole
imaginary world you have been brainstorming. Tell this story out loud.
When you speak the words of the characters, let yourself move and talk
like them. Sometimes you will narrate the details of the scenes that you
can see in your mind's eye. Sometimes you may become the characters and
feel what they are feeling. Let yourself be in the middle of the world
of the story, describing to the listener what is happening all around
you as if it were real.