Over the first few weeks of this course, I have realized how important storytelling is to our daily lives. The more we read, discussed and looked into storytelling I kept focusing on how storytelling is used to form connections. People often connect to others by using their own stories and experiences. This reminded me of our daily create assignments. We all interpret the prompt given to us, form a connection and use our personal experiences to create something that reflects what the prompt is asking for and our own story. For me, reflecting back on what I have created, I realized that each of the daily creates have shared a little bit about my own personal story. My daily create for the prompt of youth literature is below:
This daily create shared a little bit about my childhood. It does not inform on what my entire childhood was like; however, it does share more information about my personal story. What I was interested in reading is a reflection of the generation I grew up in and what was popular at the time. Other participants in the daily create that grew up during the same or similar generation formed a connection with my daily create and my personal experience having a similar experience of their own. We crave connections even if it is something as small as both loving Ms. Frizzel as children. If humans crave connecting with other people, it is easy to understand why the act of telling stories has always been a part of human nature. Stories can connect us. They help connect the present with the past and eventually they will connect to the future as they are persevered and retold by and to future generations. If forming connections is an essential part of storytelling, what causes an individual not to connect to a story? The main factors that determine if a story will create an adequate connection depend on the story, the delivery of the story and the storyteller.
As we explored the question, “what do we mean by story?” during the second week of the course we identified some of the critical aspects of storytelling. One of the first vital aspects of storytelling that we uncovered is having one main character for the audience to identify with. Additionally, we determined that the most compelling stories follow the same structure of having a beginning, middle and end. The beginning of a story usually introduces the conflict that the main character is dealing with in their lives and builds the tension of the story. The tension is building towards the climax or highest point of tension in the characters conflict. The highest point of tension usually occurs during the middle of a story. Following the climax, is the resolution of conflict and ending of the story. The tension that is being created by the conflict in the characters life is usually how the audience connects to the story by relating their own experiences to the characters. Deana highlighted this in her statement:
But I realized he wasn’t usurping my narrative; he was building a connection between our stories. His experiences were my experiences, and those collective commonalities makes the world a bit smaller. Shared connections are the foundations of storytelling. I was also struck by King’s assertion that stories make us who we are—how they influence our choices, our views, our purpose.
By building a shared connection between the audience and the story, the story’s meaning is going to have a more significant impact on the individual. When people are unable to relate to the experience or tension in the characters life, they are not going to be able to form a connection to the story. Without the connection, there is less of a chance that the story will be remembered and retold losing relevance to the individual.
The audience not only needs to connect to the story but also the storyteller if they are going to form a connection to the individual and their story adequately. It would be hard to relate and establish a connection if the storyteller does not fit the story they are telling. An example of this is, I can show students stories of drug-addicts and their fight with addiction, but these stories I have found are not as impactful as an actual drug-addict telling their story. When the story is being told by someone, who has experienced addiction first hand it automatically took addiction from a hypothetical to a real situation. Something that can happen not only to the storyteller but to the person listening in the audience. When the storyteller is speaking of an authentic experience, it makes it easier for the audience to form a connection. When the storyteller is not speaking from an authentic experience, I think it is harder for the story to be believable and the audience to form a connection. The individual storyteller along with the structure becomes an essential aspect of the audience’s ability to form a connection to the story.
Along with the structure of the story and the storyteller, the delivery of the story can also be a deciding factor in the audience’s ability to connect to the story. The delivery of the story includes how the storyteller tells the story. The storyteller’s word choice, tone, hand gestures, movements and overall presentation of the story is going to determine how successful the story and storyteller is. Kat’s focus this week is on the delivery of stories, and I am very interested to see if our thoughts overlap. She states that she wants to focus on the delivery of stories because “I think the delivery can actually guarantee the connections.” I agree that without a good delivery of the story will guarantee the connections. I think that we have all been in a situation where we have heard a good story that would have been better if someone else or a better storyteller had told it. If the storyteller forgets or does not deliver the story well it does not matter how good the story is; the audience will not connect to the story like they need to. This is not to say that the audience does not have their own responsibility to be open and willing to form a connection to the storyteller. Allowing the audience to interact with the story and/or the storyteller can help facilitate the start of the connection.