I’m much more comfortable reading stories that others create rather than creating one of my own, but – inspired by Chris’s post on storytelling – I decided to give it a try.
Here’s the story of my foray into storytelling.
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Hero … Problem … Solution … Experiment. Seems doable.
The hero is going to be plural for me: three daughters equals three heroines. Talking animals are fun … but I’ll have the talking animals as friends of the heroine … elves. Heroine elves. Shout out to Tolkien (but without the elvish dialect – we’re going to keep the dialogue in English).
And these elf girls are called into adventure (and occasionally helped, perhaps) by a crusty, old wizard (Andalf? I think I just found a place for myself in the tale.).
And real life suggests the problem these heroines face, for our family is just about to move into a new home … on a new street … in a new neighborhood. There are bound to be some orcs in the area … // inner monologue interrupted as our youngest girl awoke … and gave me a chance to put this brainstorm right into action.
Naomi wanted to turn off a box fan that was set in a window. Doing so required climbing up on a couch, stepping up onto the couch’s back, facing the fan’s wind, and twisting the dial to “off.” Not a big deal, but just-waking Naomi wasn’t up for it … and I decided to attempt to inspire her by telling her a tale of a little elvish girl, Naveen.
Naveen needed to climb a mountain in order save her family and village from a … um … storm machine (it was 6.15 in the morning and I was developing the storyline off-the-cuff; anyway, Naomi didn’t blink at this story element).
Naveen accepted this challenge and began hiking up the mountain, only to encounter a snow monster (thanks, Frozen!). The monster chased her for a bit, and then young, wise, brave Naveen decided to push snowballs that, after being rolled down the mountain, quickly grew into enormous snowballs capable of smashing a snow monster into smithereens. Her first attempt at a snowball defense smashed into a rock just to the left of the snow monster. He continued his pursuit up the mountain. The second attempt was aimed true but – at the last second – rolled over a bump and bounced clear over the snow monster’s head. He was getting close … Naveen had time to roll one more snowball at him, and … well, I’ll let you hang in suspense.
In the end, the bothersome fan was still blowing in the window. My attempt to tell a story that inspired Naomi to action didn’t work, but she was captivated by the (lame) tale that I wove. I was pleasantly surprised. Fifteen minutes slipped by, with Naomi staring at me for most of those minutes, eager to hear what Naveen was going to do next.
And then that night, Naomi helped me recount the main events of the story to the rest of our family. Not only had she enjoyed the telling of the story, she remembered it. That adds a little pressure – I better make sure my stories’ heroes are people (and elves) of courage and character.
That first experiment convinced me that Chris was right: I can tell a kid-worthy story. A story that my sweet, little listeners will dig hearing, and that I’ll enjoy telling.
Hero … Problem … Solution … Experiment. Give it a try.