What makes a good story? Upon first looking at the prompt, I thought this was an easy question. As my thought process continued, the complexities of this simple yet loaded question began to unveil itself. After further assessment, I came to a conclusion that I had never thought about until now; the storyteller is what makes a good story. One might have content that is appealing and full of interest, but the one telling the story is key to deciphering whether the story is good or not.
It is key for a storyteller to be concise, simple yet detailed at the same time. Now I know, this sounds quite contradictory but let me explain. The anecdotalist must tell a story in a chronological order while highlighting the major points in a way which allows the listeners to feel as if they are either there or can engage with the story. Simplicity within a story makes a story memorable while helping the listeners to easily understand the lesson. While telling a story, the storyteller must make the climax, otherwise noted as a peak turning point, evident and captivating. Using body language while telling a story is another great way to reel in the audience. You’d be surprised as to the power of hand moves and facial expressions as it pertains to keeping others intrigued.
Emotion is a key aspect in telling a great story. Usually, when individuals hear something that tugs at their heartstrings, it is often deemed as a great story. Making the audience laugh, cry or even sit on the edge of their seat anxiously awaiting the next part of the story is vital. When a storyteller experiences the story as they are telling it are generally deemed people who have good stories. Honesty is also key; one must bring the audience on a journey throughout the highs and lows of the story. When an instance one is reflecting upon on or a story is too edited, it is often easy for the audience to notice the teller filtering their thoughts. Sometimes, gaps are seated within the story which could have been avoided by telling the story the way it actually happened.
As a person who grew up in a family of what I consider good storytellers, I myself try to implement these techniques. Through my practices, I have noticed that a good story brings people together. It is that sense of unity and ability to engage with what is being said that keeps listeners engaged with the tellers. Prior to coming to college, my family and I would drive to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, where many of my family members live. Only 3 hours from my residence in North Carolina, it was a tradition that remains one of my childhood memories to date.
A teller who has the ability to explain a story in a natural, non robotic manner makes a good story. A verbal story is quickly processed and helps the listeners to create their own imagery as opposed to watching a story via movie or looking at a story posted on social media accompanied by images. As a general consensus, detailed yet simple content, an emotional connection, a turning point and honesty are key however, a good storyteller is vital to achieving a story that is seen as intriguing.