Brainstorming for Stories to Tell

Kevin Allison
A free video tutorial from Kevin Allison
Head Instructor at The Story Studio
4.4 instructor rating • 2 courses • 11,788 students

Lecture description

This lecture walks you through an extensive brainstorming session for culling stories from your memory.

Learn more from the full course

Intro to Storytelling: Wow Your Crowd

A practical, step-by-step guide to brainstorming on, workshopping and presenting oral stories.

02:59:33 of on-demand video • Updated July 2017

  • Become a more engaging, clear and compelling communicator.
  • Increase your charisma, using your voice, body, emotions and intelligence.
  • Entertain and make a meaningful impact on your listeners.
  • Learn how to brainstorm on the most story-worthy moments of your life.
  • Discover The 2 Essential Ingredients for any good story.
  • Include The 6 Senses in your story scenes to trigger emotional responses.
  • Master The 5 Beats of classic story structure.
  • Know how to answer the "So what?" question in your ending.
  • Acquire a workshopping and performance-honing process you can apply again and again.
  • Get tips on becoming a regular practitioner of storytelling in any community.
English [Auto] Hello and welcome back to intro to storytelling this is lecture to brainstorming for stories to tell. Now as I said in lecture was one of the two essential elements of all stories is an emotional throughline the incidents you describe living through should be incidents that you found compelling in an emotional way. And you noticed your emotions shifting over a trajectory you cared. You took action and then you started to feel a little differently. That's a standard pattern. The ancient Greeks had two words for types of time Cronos which is just ordinary day to day mundane reality passing by and Cairos which is precious time. Those moments when you thought oh this is something. Let's say you're walking down the street on an ordinary day you might get stuck on a song lyric that's being sung into your ears from your iPod for a moment. You might start daydreaming about what you're going to have for lunch you might momentarily think you see a friend and then realize now that's not her. But it's all kind of in one ear and out the other. But what if a little girl was suddenly struck down by a bicyclist about 20 feet in front of you. Suddenly everything changes. Right. Your heart rate increases you feel pins and needles in your hands. You do a super quick scan of the environment for any other threats or anyone who could help you yell out with your voice in an emotional way it's ok sweetheart. We'll get you out right now you're super aware of how you feel in your guts in your chest. You're super aware of how she seems to feel what's going on. You know guys in the emotions that are showing through her body language you are aware that something precious might be lost or gained in this moment. You really care. Now psychologists tell us that the reason people so often include the phrase it was is it time slowed down in their stories is because when something really traumatic or really crucial or really be a terrific happens to people their psyches start paying much more attention. They're not filtering so much information anymore into the unconscious. They want to make sure they're getting all the information around. And so their perception seems to stretch to be able to fit all that information into their consciousness. Those are Cairos moments as the ancient Greeks would say or as they say on the moth story worthy moments. Now you might think well I've never climbed Mt. Everest or saved someone from a burning building. But that's not what it's about. You might have had a profound realization while riding the bus one day and a tear came to your eye. That's a story worthy moment. The circumstance may be mundane but because the moment meant something to you the moment is not mundane at all. Now I'd like for you to grab a pen and paper or open a new document on your computer so that you can jot some things down. While I continue talking here I'm going to lead you through a brainstorm of some of the most storied worthy moments of your life. As I talk jot down phrases or even whole sentences if you're a quick writer typer just know that I'm going to keep moving at a pretty quick clip so you'll have to jot things down quickly. You can always stop the video whenever you want stop and start again and you can always come back to this document or this list whenever you think what could I tell a story about next. It might be that a phrase or a sentence that you jot down at the beginning of the brainstorm could be combined with a phrase or a sentence from the middle of the brainstorm to make one story. Or it could be that one little phrase you jot down ends up yielding three different stories. It's all just grist for the mill. Have you got your pen and paper ready or your keyboard. All right let's go. Why once a time in your life when you were most inspired. Maybe you discovered a new thing that became a fascination for you or maybe you fell in love with someone maybe you had some sort of eureka moment where you're perception of something shifted or maybe a big opportunity knocked on your door. Now how about a time in your life when you were really upset maybe you were totally at odds with someone or with some institution maybe you felt betrayed or disillusioned by someone or something maybe you put a lot of effort into something but it just wasn't enough to work. Maybe you found yourself a really mired in a bad habit or found that you had gone down a really bad path. Now how about a time in your life when you were filled with compassion. Maybe your heart really went out to someone and you knew you had to be there for them or maybe you experienced a great loss yourself the loss of a loved one or a job or a dream or maybe there was a circumstance where someone else had compassion for you and was really there for you. All right. How about a time in your life when you were super embarrassed maybe you told a lie. That just became so messy you couldn't stay on top of it or maybe someone laughed at you and it really stung. Maybe some unconscious area of weakness really trip you up despite your best intentions. Maybe you did something you later considered pretty seriously worn and you felt like you had to make amends. How about a time when you were filled with joy. Maybe a weekend that was just filled with laughs or excitement thrills or maybe a blissful sort of and trancing experience. Maybe the best date you ever had. Or maybe the worst date you ever had. How about a time you were really scared. Your worst injury a time that you were panicked because you thought you might screw something really important or time that you felt that you were emotionally in harm's way. You felt like you had to protect yourself from someone or something. And finally how about a time in your life when you were really surprised maybe you were blindsided by something or maybe there was this mystery that for the longest time you couldn't figure out what's really going on here or maybe you had an experience that you feel with supernatural maybe something really shocked you at that time. But it's funny to you now. OK. Pens down. Now what you have in front of you is a big brain storm that you can return to again and again over the years for developing various stories over time. Remember one little incident that you jotted down just now might later trigger the memory of another incident you haven't thought of in years. Somewhere down the line now in the next lecture We'll talk about taking a first stab at telling this story. Thanks for watching.