I love to listen to local storytelling events — the ones that mimic the NPR “Moth” Radio Hour stories. They’re popular again in this area after the long shut-down. People gather around to tell true stories about events they’ve experienced. Alcohol or caffeine may be involved.
I say they “mimic” the Moth Radio Hour to be polite. It’s amazing how many people have no clue what storytelling is.
They don’t know there’s a world of difference between telling an entertaining story and reminiscing about that time back in 1972 when you and your buddies dropped acid on that fishing trip and there was a bear…except it was a raccoon…and Fred thought it was a hat…and Kevin started singing the Davy Crockett song…and you got in a fight over whether Davy “kilt him a bear” or “built him a bar” when he was only three…
And eventually the bored crowd semi-politely claps you off the stage.
After a particularly long evening of “Old Men Falling off a Train of Thought” at a local coffee house, I sat down to write this handy guide.
Unfortunately, l never found a way to present this tip diplomatically and the gatherings stopped soon after. But if you have any friends who love to talk, but need some help in shaping that talk into an actual story people want to hear, maybe you can point them in this direction.
It also helps newish writers make sure their WIP doesn’t get derailed following that fascinating character — the one who just showed up and you’ve followed down a rabbit hole and you have no clue where any of it is going…