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Storytelling Tip: Stop Rambling Stories in Their Tracks

My stories used to ramble across hill and dale and sit down for a nice turkey sandwich before eventually ambling off to the end.

But producers only give you seven minutes on stage to tell a story. So I set a timer and timed my story. I came in at twenty minutes. Positive that there was something wrong with the timer, I tried again. But this time I cut out the bit about the boat ride.

There was nothing wrong with the timer – I was at 18 minutes the second time – but I realized that I’d accidentally hit upon the solution.

I set the timer (making sure I couldn’t see it, so it didn’t distract me) and told the story again. This time I cut out the ferris wheel and my grandma. 14 minutes.

It took two weeks, but eventually I whittled away at the story, cutting out the deadwood, and I hit the magical 7 minute number. (Then I did a big happy dance all over the living room with Peter the cat. Peter was not as happy as I was.)

Why did this work?

I heard my story. Over and over and over and over again. And because I heard it a hundred times, I knew what I could cut and eventually my story was tight, simple, compelling and exactly the right length.

How can you shorten your story?

1. Set a timer, make sure you can’t see it.

2. Tell your story. Note the time.

3. Tell again, cutting out unnecessary bits.

4. Repeat until goal is met.

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Storytelling Workshop in Bangalore with Sage Tyrtle

ICB is happy to give a very warm welcome to Sage, who comes to Bangalore all the way from Canada with two fantastic workshops:

About Sage:

Sage Tyrtle has been improvising in Toronto since 2010, working with “Plundercats”, “Robbing Turtles”, and “America’s Next Top ___”. She’s performed in the Chicago Musical Improv Festival and the Big City Improv Festival. When it comes to storytelling, Sage is a professional storyteller, telling stories all over the world. She teaches The Art of Storytelling, and her stories have been featured on NPR and CBC radio.

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The Storytelling Workshop:

We’ve all had that moment where you’re telling a story, and you suddenly realize that everyone around you is just waiting for you to stop talking.

The almost imperceptible glazing over of their eyes. The slight shifting as they wonder if it’s really that rude to check their phones. The blush crawling up your cheeks as you stumble over your words, trying to wrap things up as quickly as possible.

There’s no worse feeling than realizing that people have tuned you out, especially when you’re trying to talk about something you really care about … and nothing better than when you look around a room and realize that people are hanging on your every word.

That’s what this workshop is all about: learning how to tell stories that matter in a way that absolutely captivates your audience.

**This workshop is for both beginners and experienced performers**

Date: Tue, 5 Feb, 2019
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm
Venue: Smart Studio, Ulsoor
Fee: 1,000/- per person
Register on: http://www.icbangalore.com/sage

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The Armando Workshop:

Why work with just a word as a suggestion? A true story can lead to some of the best improv ever seen. Professional storyteller Sage Tyrtle works with you to tease out the suggestions from true stories.

**This workshop is for those with stage experience**

Date: Wed, 6 Feb, 2019
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm
Venue: Smart Studio, Ulsoor
Fee: 1,000/- per person
Register on: http://www.icbangalore.com/sage

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For any details or queries, do contact Nasir on 998673466 or email hello@ICBangalore.com

Storytelling Tip: Chess Playing Hamsters

Two million people sit down at their computers every single day and write a post for their website about their lives. And some of those posts are transcendent and beautiful, but the majority are written too fast, with very little care.

Which is a fantastic bonus for us. Because we get to fix them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Look up something you’re interested in, and add the word “blog”. Like: “chess playing hamster blog”.

2. Look through the search results until you find one that’s atrocious. Incoherent, run on sentences, lots of information you don’t care about (it’s CHESS PLAYING HAMSTERS, what’re these two paragraphs about Grandpa’s gout doing in here?)

3. Choose the longest entry.

4. Now you’re going to rewrite that entry with three goals in mind:

First, what is the point of this entry? Why does a Chess Playing Hamster fan want to read it?

Secondly, what supports the point of the entry? Cut out everything that doesn’t support the point (like Grandpa’s gout).

And your third goal is this: be specific. Turn sentences like “And the hamster, I don’t know, sort of won, I guess?” into “The brown hamster’s eyes suddenly lit up. She moved purposefully towards the rook and nudged it three spaces to the right. Then ran to step on the ‘checkmate’ button and the audience went WILD.”

How does this apply to you? Now that you’ve fixed someone else’s writing, use those three goals to spruce up your own.