New new feature! I know, I'm throwing a lot out there (eventually something will be good), but bear with me. These are just some essays I plan to write from time-to-time. But in the olden times they used to write essays and bind them in books - crazy our predecessors. Olden times folk also used to eat their weakest young and boil people for saying the sky was blue and such. Let's be careful in the ways we chose to emulate those who came before us. Anyway, here is the first installment. Please bate breath.On Storytelling
The most important factor in telling a “good” story is to avoid spitting on the listener. While aggressive storytelling is appreciated, exuberance of THAT kind leads only to a forgotten tale and a soggy companion.
Besides aridity, there are a number of key elements to a good story. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Brevity and Vulgarity. How many times have you sat, bored out of you mind, and listened to someone ramble on and on about some such trouble they had at work or some such other gibberish? ON and ON they talk, but not once do they spice it up with some of ye ole’ gutter mouth. Please, spare me the King’s English. Nothing can spice up a story like some well-placed swears. Take for instance a classic story, Little Red Riding Hood. Here is part of the original text:
"O, Granny!" cried the child, "what a great long nose you have."
"The better to smell with, my child."
"But, Granny, what great big ears you have got."
"The better to hear with, my child."
Red Riding Hood began to be more scared than she had ever been in her life, and her voice trembled when she said: "O, Granny, what great--big--teeth--you've--got!"
"The better to eat you with!"
Applying the first to elements of good storytelling (brevity and vulgarity), you get a much more concise and powerful story:
“Grandma . . . what the fuck happened to your face?”
“I hope you’ve got white wine in that basket, because it goes great with Red Riding Hood!”
The addition of vulgarity does nothing to take away from the moral of Little Red Riding Hood (wolves are bad) and coupled with the new, brisk pace, the listener has little time to be distracted by shiny objects.
Embellishment. Historical accuracy has no place when attempting to entertain others. Always try to use the superlative form of adjectives: fastest, dumbest, humongous-est, etc. In these modern times, it’s hard to impress others with anything less than the best or worst. Example: It was hard for me to find a hat for a boy with such a giant head, the giantest head in all the land! Remember, all of our grandfathers couldn’t have caught the biggest fish in the lake.
Visual cues. There is nothing duller than a stationary story teller. Move about your listeners, flail wildly, break out into dance – perhaps the Macarena? The whole of Broadway is built on the premise that vigorous movement makes for good story telling. Who would watch Evita, if she sat motionless in her Lazy-Boy eating Twinkies and plotting coups?
I find stories that are filled with excessive umms and uhhs to be tiresome. You’ll be kind to moan elsewhere. How about whistling or humming a popular Britney Spears song while crafting your next lie?
As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many elements to telling a good story, some of which I’ve revealed to you. This is but the beginning of your education. The rest is best learned for yourself. Now go forth and tell the tallest-est tales in all the galaxy!