How to use ‘swooping’ in your storytelling

I made a presentation to Cardiff Geek Speak this month about ‘swooping in storytelling‘ and they asked me to put my presentation online. I haven’t put the whole thing here but I have highlighted  out one section, which looks at some of the elements that make up…

A great story

 E.g. Walking with Maurice by Hanne Jones on the BBC Capture Wales website.

·         Starts with one incident and work out from that.

·         Has a clear point of view (Hanne’s was a personal take).

·         Makes you give a damn – I can’t define how to do this, but I did care for Hanne and her Granddad.

·         Has the stepping-stone-effect: when you reach the other bank you can see where you came from and how you got here.

·         Is told to be heard, not read.

·         Works well even without visuals; would be a great radio piece.

·         Is just long enough.

 

·         Plants mystery bombs (“I found my soulmate” – who is that?)

·         Explodes each mystery bomb, when it’s time (“Maurice is not just my special friend; he is also my Granddad.”)

·         Reveals surprises: “we take time to walk slowly”

 

·         Has swoops of scale: zooms the imagination out from a teardrop at the corner of an eye to a sweeping forest vista.

·         Has swoops of emotion: “cries when he’s happy … and when he’s sad”

·         May have swoops of time: Hanne aged 5, 15, 25, in the future, and then back again.

·         Sometimes has swoops of place: the forest, the garden swing, heaven …

 

·         Etc…

When the storyteller gets this swooping right, they can produce butterflies in the tummy of the person listening to their story. This kind of emotional response is what makes stories memorable and storytellers unforgettable.

Swooping in storytelling - Peregrine Falcon AlaS 01
Swooping in storytelling – photo by Paul Sullivan.

 

Originally written and published by Gareth Morlais on 27 June 2013

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