This writing lesson series begins appropriately with the oldest known great storyteller.
Aesop is well known among readers as one of the great storytellers of all time. Maybe the earliest superstar storyteller. People have remembered Aesop’s fables for so long but did you know he was a slave? Yes, one of the greatest storytellers of all time was enslaved in ancient Greece.
He must have been an amazing storyteller because his stories weren’t written down until hundreds of years after he told them but people still remember them. How? How did he do it? While we don’t know what made his tales so memorable as he told them, we do know what makes his stories memorable and I’m going to break it down for you.
**Here is one key:
When we tell a story the areas of our brain that we would be using if we were doing or experiencing what is in the story are activated by hearing the story. Those areas are not engaged when you only hear facts or descriptions. Remember that one. It’s huge. Don’t describe, engage them in your story. Help them experience it.
Aesop wasn’t alone as a great storyteller. Storytelling is natural to us. Do you have a story for us? Let it out. You can learn how to tell a great story here.
Here is a video of a great storyteller explaining why it works and how you can use it as a great tool for your business or anything.
other than those few ever faithful teachers usually fit into these categories: actors, writers, comedians, bloggers, businesspeople, salesmen, social media addicts, parents, librarians, and some politicians, but, you know what? We are all storytellers, and we can become great storytellers.
There are people with tons of talent out there that can do almost anything and many of them make great storytellers, but, you don’t need multiple talents to be a great storyteller, but I know what you do need. Stick with me and I promise to teach you how.
I’ve always felt like a storyteller
But just that. I’m just a pure story addict. It’s what I love about books, movies, comics, the stories are what I care about and telling them is like a drug to me. Some people are just amazing storytellers. Such as Steve Jobs, Steven King and so many more. I bet you didn’t expect to see those two names side by side when talking about storytellers. Read on and find out why they do line up.
My mother pushed me into storytelling. It helped me survive my babysitting duties. She made me babysit my little sister and I told her stories. It kept her quiet. I ran out of the few stories I had memorized and began to make them up on the fly. I was hooked on storytelling at that point. I made my sister laugh. That’s addictive. Soon I was telling mom stories, she loved them. She loved everything I did though.
Moms and 3-year-old kids who love their older brother will like whatever story we tell them so I’m quite sure my stories stunk in the beginning, but after 50 plus years of telling them, I may have improved a bit. Let me explain how.
Great Storytellers Are Hard To Forget
Steven King creates unforgettable characters and puts us right in the story. Steve Jobs engaged us in his stories so we feel the same things he felt when it happened to him. Jobs’ keynote speeches are famous.
Aesop is credited with many fables or stories that he very well may not have written simply because of human nature. After his death he remained popular and as his legend grew other good stories were added to his collection and rode his wave of popularity. Some stories may have been taken more seriously because of the association.
But some of the best stories were so memorable because of the message or moral. His story The Ant and the Grasshopper had a message that has been debated and altered in revisions to tell a different side for what may have been political reasons. A hungry Grasshopper begs for food from an ant when winter comes. He is rejected. It is assumed Aesop wanted to teach the virtues of hard work and planning for the future.
A very conservative moral in today’s terms. It is strong common sense, however. Some have altered or retold that same fable to express how much better it is to show compassion and charity. However, in the original, the grasshopper sang all summer instead of preparing for winter and had to then beg for food when winter came.
That seems to clearly indicate Aesop’s intent was not to teach charity but common sense and hard work. It isn’t completely clear however because other versions of this fable were added to the collection of so defined Aesop’s Fables with different messages. Some had the ant as the bad person and the grasshopper as the victim.
Crafting a Story For Affect
Affect is to cause an emotional reaction. This is what you need in a great story. Help them live your story.
Nonetheless, I use this story only to relate the reaction to Aesop and his storytelling ability. He crafted and told a story so well it is still used in today’s world. We’ve all had times when we didn’t do the work and suffered the consequences. So we can relate to the story.
Some would say that Aesop’s fables all contained simple human nature morals. The kind that we all know by a certain age from living through them, but I think it’s important to continue to read these stories to our kids so maybe they won’t have to learn some of the lessons the hard way.
The Ape and the Fox is another great example of basic human nature told in a simple but effective way. Someone may appear to be the right person for the job based on loud-mouthed self-promoting dialogue but once in power, their inability to govern even themselves becomes clear.
Not wanting to make this a comprehensive list of Aesop’s fables I’ll stop there. I just wanted to illustrate why his work was so memorable and how you can do that same thing.
What does your audience need to know? What do they want you to teach them? Find a basic way to make a little fable for them. Make it engaging; let them feel the same emotions you did when you thought of it.
Tell me what your biggest obstacle is to overcome with storytelling.
Do you have a story to tell about your own experience telling a story? comment and I’ll get back to you fast. I always do.
I hope you become one of our great storytellers all time.