3 Storytelling lessons learnt from Moonlight Tales
And there we sat watching the moon peek through the sky and the stars like shinny buttons. An old man sat on a locally made armchair, while we all circled round him. He was telling us a story, the story of the tortoise and how it got the shell cracked. The story was accompanied by a short chorus.
A chorus we will continue to repeat even while we retire to our beds.
That was almost 15 years ago, but I could still remember every thing that happened in that moonlight tale. How the Tortoise out of greed refused to share food with other animals. The birds of the air had borrowed the tortoise their feather so that he could be able to fly to the sky in a party invitation to eat with God. When the food was served, he tricked the birds by claiming that he represented the stomach of everybody present.
After the party, the birds out of anger had taken back their feather leaving the tortoise to fall from the sky shattering his shell into pieces. He was later rescued by his cousin, a snail who licked his shell together with slime.
That’s all for the moonlight story. I am going to tell what I learnt from sitting under the full moon listening to an old man.
- Every story has an audience
That very moment I picked up my pen to write, spent a couple of minutes looking for a good title without knowing what my story would look like.
I know I could write, If I know the kind of audience that would read my story.
That audience is you, that audience was a group of 5 year old kids gathered around an old man under a full moon. The old man understood they were kids, he understood they would love the animal story, they would love the tortoise for being cunning, they would love those sweet chorus echoed mid way into the story.
Lesson : Understanding your audience makes you write/tell great stories.
Everyone has a unique story to tell but not all could be able to tell it in a unique way if they don’t consider their audience.
- Make you audience imagine.
“You know what would happen when the Tortoise fall from a point beyond the moon in the heavens?” I remember the old man saying this pointing to the full moon while we all responded with a mixture of pity and hatred for the poor animal.
Creating a perfect imagination with your story could mean asking a thought provoking question, the question could be emotional.
It makes your audience feel like they are part of the story, like they are one of the characters or a part of something that keeps the story going. I once came across an article on independent.co.uk which began by asking;
‘Imagine what would happen when North Korea dictator initiates a nuclear war with America.’
Asking these kind of questions can also increase your level of engagement and conversation by taping into the emotion of your audience.
- Reading and Listening to great stories can make you a great storyteller.
After listening to these moonlight stories, the next day we spend the most of our break retelling these stories to other kids in school. As time went on, everyone in school knew us. We even went ahead to establish a storytelling club which happened to be the largest group in school.
Another lesson : Your brand/business can build a lasting audience with great stories.
How then can one be able to write good articles/stories?
Read great stories, join a book/story club, engage with the right audience.
You will be able to write great stories by doing these 3 things.