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The Bare Bone storytelling : Only basics are important

  • June 10, 2014
  • Payoshni Saraf
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As a teacher in my
last vocation, one of the most exciting subjects to teach used to be English
Comprehension. Once you become a teacher, you realize that every story, every
article, every piece of writing can be used to teach logic, critical thinking
and creative ideas. Simple writings can help your kids understand the many
complexities of life early on and push their thinking on solving it.
I had a class of 25
teenagers and would often use Stories and Poems from classic English writers,
both to increase their vocabulary and language as well as to push comprehension
abilities.
While doing this,
very regularly, one needs to assume the role of an excellent story teller,
somebody who uses one’s voice, body and the environment around as props for a
captivating story telling session.Amongst all the voice modulation and hand
movements, what I struggled most with was to keep the text of the story within
reading length. As I moved around the class engrossed in the story, I would
remember that I actually DO NOT remember what happens next in the story and
rush to read up. This dampened the effect of the story a little bit and
sometimes broke the momentum. I devised small palm-fitting notes and other
prompts to remind me but they were mostly random and hence did not help much.2 years of my fellowship rushed by while I
continued doing my little rush to the table for reading up on the progress of
the story.
Like inspiration,
solutions can strike you at the strangest place and time. Yesterday I was
talking to a colleague of mine who is just back from South Africa after
attending the launch of the African Story Book project (http://www.africanstorybook.org/). She told me how during one of the workshops in
the 2 day conference, somebody spoke about the ‘ Bare-Bone’ method of storytelling.
I was immediately interested and did a little bit of research on it. Although
not much is available on the internet, here is what I understood about it:
The Bare Bone method of storytelling essentially
means that you narrate the story with its most basic content. Just the bones:
the framework of the story. Remember the basics of the story, the main
characters, the problem, the solution (maybe write it down somewhere for a
quick reference) and then go with the flow. Restrict the story to 5-10 main
lines and that’s it. Make the flesh as you go on.
I came across this
interesting article which details out a good methodology to bare-bone a story.
After I read this, I wished I had read it before and saved myself a few
calories of running to the table each time for a recap in the class.
Hope all you story
tellers will use it and share with us if you found this useful.
Happy bare-boning!

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