Musings of a rock mom rebel


Storytelling Tips!

I had a blast hosting another live lit workshop at my former place of employment, The Old Town School of Folk Music, this past Saturday. 

The class was full and the attendees inspiring. They played along with aplomb, and wrote some beautiful shit. 

We started out the workshop with a few physical games to get the juices flowing. Then, I doled out prompts. We talked about how to mine their best personal stories.

No one wanted to take a break when I asked, so we chartered on.

I watched and coached as they toiled and scribbled, and these sweet folks came up with the most awesome stories. After some feedback, we realized that four hours had just flown by without a bathroom break for most.

Here are a few of the tips I doled out in the workshop:

• Land the opening line.
• Use the Transition Triad: 1). I was this way; 2). Something happened; 3). Now I’m this way. 
• Another way of looking at it: 1). I believed this; 2). Then this thing happened (this is your climax); 3). Now I believe this
• Always move the narrative forward.
• Don’t forget your audience-interact with them; respond to them; acknowledge them. 
• Inject humor where you can. 
• Offer at least a modicum of self-exposure and vulnerability. More is better!
• Make use of your voice, your body, your hands, your facial expressions, even (especially) in the moment/s when you don’t verbalize. 
• Know your strengths as a teller, and use them. Work on fixing what doesn’t work, especially if the fixes are related to technical things like nervousness, delivery, diction, or vocal volume. 
• Your story needs a mandatory beginning, a middle, and end!
• Paint a few scenes with “show don’t tell” sensory elements.
• Introduce other characters by setting up "in scene" dialogue moments. 
• Build the tension by sharing your internal or external conflict with the listeners.
• Land the closing.

There are many more tips. Take our classes and we'll share them all!

In the meantime, I just stumbled upon an advice page from a show called Tenx9 Chicago, if you'd like more of these tidbits. Here's a very basic list of how to tell a live lit story.

And here's Tenx9 Chicago's advice on how to WRITE a personal story.


May Story Jam Show Recap, by Maggie

Our May 20th Story Jam show was a fantastic success. We were incredibly touched by all the storytellers and musicians who contributed their talents to our show. Shannon Cason reminded us of the trials of young-love with his recounts of college dating. Nestor Gomez used humor to move us with his story about the long, grueling process of gaining citizenship in the United States, and Annalise Raziq reminded us that, after losing a loved one, heartbreak can be both healing and humorous. Stephanie Rogers sang soulful, funky songs to compliment the various stories, backed by an amazing ten-piece band.

We are so looking forward to the next show happening September 16th, noon, at City Winery! If you want to feel inspired by these artists and musicians--then mark your calendars for September 16th, folks.


Upcoming Story Jam Show

Hello friends, Maggie here!

Our May Story Jam show is coming up, and I already know it's going to be such a moving, unique, and lively experience. We are featuring renowned storyteller Shannon Cason, as well as three other storytellers who have been spotlighted on NPR. Nestor Gomez, a national award-winner, will also be performing at our show. We are very lucky to have such a fantastic line-up.

If you love literature, music, and the arts, I highly encourage you to join us this Sunday, May 20th, noon, at City Winery. This is a show you don't want to miss!

There will be great food, drinks, and fun new Story Jam merchandise.

Click the link below to get your tickets!


Interview w/ Unrated Magazine

By Dan Locke 
Stephanie Rogers the Hipchick
Interview - January 17, 2018

Read more »