Storytelling Tip: Where should your story begin?

One of the most common questions my students ask is: “How do I know where my story should start?”

Well, I know how Matthew At The Office finds his beginning. He closes his eyes and throws a dart at the story and wherever it lands – that’s the beginning. That’s why you now have an instinctive urge to flee when Matthew At The Office does that particular big sigh that means he’s about to tell a story.

“WOW IS THAT THE TIME I HAVE TO – UH – WASH MY HAIR – IN THE OFFICE BATHROOM” And there’s just a cloud of dust where you were and the distant sound of the office bathroom door slamming.

So what’s Matthew At The Office missing?

Maybe he didn’t read very many folktales as a kid. Because, friends, folktales have the answer.

Little Red Riding Hood begins with, “Please take these cookies through the woods to your Grandma and don’t talk to the Wolf,” because that’s all we need to know. There’s a girl, a mother, there’s woods, there’s a grandmother and hey, don’t talk to the wolf. That’s it.

How can you apply this to your own true stories?

Ask yourself: “Will the audience still understand the story AND be emotionally invested, if I leave this part out?”

If the answer is yes, cut it.

It really is that easy.

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Telling a Story at Raw Storytelling


One of my favourite storytelling shows in Toronto is Raw Storytelling, and I’m super excited to be part of their next show, “Tight 5ives”. Eight storytellers, telling true stories in five minutes or less. . Open on theme, so expect to hear various stories from people sharing their vulnerability. See you there!

More Info
Facebook Event
Socap Theatre
154 Danforth (just east of Broadview)
Toronto, Ontario


Storytelling Tip: You Are Not Alone

“Everyone has a true story to tell that matters.” We’ve all heard this sentence before, and it’s absolutely true. But here’s the second half: not everyone is willing or able to tell THEIR profound and compelling true story.

So what makes a profound and compelling true story? What’s the story that people will still be thinking about a month from now?

A friend of mine (who gave me permission to tell his story) grew up with alcoholic parents. His father worked nights, and would stop every day on his way home to pick up two six packs of beer. And then, at 7 AM, his mother and father would plow through the cans of beer until there was only one left. Then they’d have a screaming fight over whose can of beer that was.

And though it was upsetting, and awful, and a horrible way to start every single day right before he had to go to school, he gritted his teeth and got through it alone without telling anybody. It wasn’t until he moved out that he started talking to the other kids in his neighbourhood and found out that almost everyone’s family had some variation on that story. But what he’d found out earlier? What if those kids had told their stories to each other and then to adults who could help?

Knowing we are not alone in our experiences can unequivocally CHANGE OUR LIVES.

How do you choose your own profound and compelling true story? The one people will still be thinking about a month from now?

Give your audience this gift: you are not alone. You never were.

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