What is the unique experience that is common to book reading and storytelling? In both modes of storytelling, the author and the performer makes the audience to visualize the pictures in their minds. Here, when I say storytelling, it refers to the traditional form of storytelling where the storyteller uses only words and simple body movements to tell a story.

The role of a storyteller is to create visuals in the mind of the audience. Last Weekend, I was a part of three international online storytelling sessions. From the performances that I witnessed it was clearly evident that those who helped the audience to see and feel better stood out amidst all the storytellers.

How to help the audience visualize better during storytelling?

  1. Self – Visualization

When I did my storytelling course with Kathalaya way back in 2013, my teacher then Geetha Ramanujam said a storyteller is like a projector. He makes the audience to see the images that comes out of him. This implies that firstly the image has to be in the storyteller.

For this to happen, while preparing your story, take time to see the story in your mind. Picturise the actions that are happening in the story. In short, visualize each scene as a movie.

2. Usage of words

Words and gestures are the medium through which a storyteller conveys his visuals. When the image in your head is crystal clear you will be able to convert it to words and gestures easily. Let me give you an example.

Two days ago in my ongoing Brighten Goes to School online storytelling session (To know more whatsapp 9551762399), I performed the story of Man in the Moon. (This is a story from the book Mother Goose in Prose by L Frank Baum) In this story, at a particular scene the man in the moon falls from the sky into a river which surprisingly burns him hot. When I began to rehearse, I was performing it in a stereotypical fashion of getting burnt which is to fold hands and rub the shoulders.

Contrastingly when I visualized the scene, the image and the action didn’t match. Thus I changed it according to the scene in my mind. When I performed that part based on the new movement, it was authentic and helped the audience to see better.

3. Dialogues

Akash Karia in his book TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks cites dialogues as a key factor to help visualize better. We can use dialogues to express the emotions of the characters. We can also use dialogues to create the setting. In short dialogues bring the story alive.

But don’t overuse them. When you read a novel, you don’t see dialogues everywhere, the author uses it only to drive a point and when it is necessary. The same principle applies here as well.

To summarize:

  1. The first step to storytelling is to see the story in your mind.
  2. Use words and gestures appropriate to the visuals
  3. Use dialogues to bring the story alive.

Join THE 5 MINUTE STORYTELLER – Storytelling Workshop for Adults

My online stories on Facebook are well known for being short and powerful. You can watch them here. In this workshop I will teach how you can also do the same. How you can structure your story so powerfully that you can deliver your story with great impact in just 5 minutes.

This workshop will happen from June 1 to 12 (Monday to Friday) – 10 days

Time: 6.30pm to 8pm (Indian Standard time)

Workshop cost: Rs. 5000.

To register fill the form below and say “I would like to register for the workshop.”