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Articles from Doug Lipman

Table of Contents:

New! The Basics of Storytelling
Using images, relating to your listeners, 7 Deadly Mistakes
The Community of Storytellers
Coaching, buddies, your support team
Education and Storytelling
eTips from the Storytelling Coach
Back issues of Doug's free email newsletter - and subscription information
Finding and Creating Stories
Special topics in how to find or create stories! Find folktales, find or create stories that convey a value, or turn a personal experience into a fairy tale.
Includes articles about using sound systems, as well as about issues in performance.
Professional Development
Includes information about marketing, making a recording, and designing a web site.
Storytelling Concepts
Basic ideas that help us tell and understand stories.
Storytelling In Society
Working with Stories


The Basics of Storytelling

Are Storytellers in the Relationship Business?
Storytelling tends to make relationships visible and therefore gives you a chance to offer yourself, to enter into a truly human relationship with your listeners, and thus, incidentally, to contribute to healing a pervasive hurt in our society.
Seven Deadly Storytelling Sins, Part 1
Can you afford to make these storytelling mistakes, which may torpedo a story, resulting in a lost chance to communicate, a lost ally, or even a lost job?
Seven Deadly Storytelling Sins, Part 2
Avoid these three common mistakes, and your storytelling will flow!
What Are Stories Made Of?
Are stories made of words? To tell stories compellingly, first get clear what stories are really made of. Next, understand the solutions to the three most common storytelling problems. Only then will you will be ready to hold the attention of your listeners - whether in a boardroom, on the phone, or across a kitchen table.



A Storytelling Bibliography
Includes where to buy storytelling resources, books about storytelling, and collections of stories.
Recent Storytelling Titles
by Janice del Negro
Includes how-to books for adults, how-to books for kids, and resources for the storyteller, including several collections of traditional tales.
Resources for Storytellers
by Susanna Holstein
Includes books on how to tell, what to tell, and methods for telling.
Selected Bibliography of "Formula Tales"
by Doug Lipman
Simple, repetitive, "Tales That Tell Themselves" from Doug's tapes, picture books, and collections of formula tales.
The Story Factor
by Doug Lipman
A review of Annette Simmons' acclaimed book on storytelling in business.


The Community of Storytellers

Friendly Persuasion
The first article that set out principles for coaching storytellers. (Doug has since revised these principles and described them with detailed examples in his book, The Storytelling Coach.)
Becoming a Coach
"You've coached me well, and I've seen you coach others. How do I learn to be a storytelling coach myself?"
Planning Buddies
This is the "job description" for helping partnerships to integrate the storyteller's long-term goals into daily life.
Remembering Reuven Gold
A spiritual storyteller who left his mark on me.
The secret of life is...getting help.
Using & training helpers for all aspects of your life.
Your Support Team
The helpers who keep your artistic life on track. (An excerpt from Improving Your Storytelling.)


Education and Storytelling

Tell Me More, Daddy
When I was a boy, my father began a story he never finished - and taught me the value of storytelling.
Teaching Interviewing Skills Through Story Games
Guessing games and others to teach children ages 9-13 the basics of interviewing, such as:
  • how to treat their interviewees with respect
  • how to elicit their stories, and
  • how to follow-up on what they hear with perceptive questions.
New Tales From Old
Two activities for using traditional tales to stimulate story creation by students.
Storytelling Studies (Academia)
by Eric Miller
A list of colleges and universities offering instruction in/about storytelling (oral narrative). The most up-to-date list is at


Finding and Creating Stories

Finding Stories That Convey Your Values
How to clarify the value you wish to convey, then discover and develop stories that communicate it.
In Search of the Folktale
How to use a type index to find versions of a folktale.
First appeared in The Yarnspinner.
Making Fairy Tales from Personal Stories
How to turn a personal experience into a fairy tale with the same emotional content.
  • Part One gives a sample session in which the coach assists a storyteller to refine a personal memory and then create a fairy tale from it.
  • Part Two comments on the coach's role as well as on the benefits and limitations of this technique.
First appeared in The National Storytelling Journal.



Getting Started at a Performance
"At a performance, how do I get started?"
Telling stories to children
"I tell mostly to adults. What is different about telling stories to children?"
When to Teach Participation
"I use audience participation in one of my stories.
Should I teach the audience's part before the story begins, or when it comes up in the story?"
About microphones
Choosing a microphone to use in storytelling performances.
Sound Systems
Choosing equalizers, amplifiers & speakers--and dealing with feedback.


Professional Development

Am I ready to make a tape?
There is much to consider besides the state of your storytelling.
Finding Your True Market (outline)
Handouts for multi-day workshops given in various locations.
Includes the broad principles of Doug's thinking about marketing, and a list of questions you can fill out as a step toward articulating what you have to offer your audience.
How to Record Using a Sharp SR60 Minidisc Recorder
A minidisc recorder can be an economical way to break into digital recording of your practice sessions, performances and workshops. This handy recorder is discontinued, but still has a great combination of price, size, convenience, and the features you need for recording yourself on the fly.
Marketing from the Heart
Doug explains why marketing is often hard for storytellers, then goes on to give a concept of marketing that is neither aggressive nor manipulative. Then he sketches out the steps you can take to find allies who eagerly want your work.
Marketing Outside the Storytelling Community (audio only)
Listen to my interview on the podcast: The Art of Storytelling with Children where I spoke with the host Eric Wolf about basing your marketing on your true strengths, emphasizing benefits, avoiding becoming a "commodity storyteller," building relationships with potential allies, the three questions to ask yourself about a program or product, and more.
"This is essential knowledge for anyone interested in storytelling, not just those who work with children."—Tim Ereneta
Producing an Audiocassette (outline)
Handout for workshop given at 1995 National Storytelling Conference in Atlanta, GA.
Types of Web Sites
When designing your own site on the World Wide Web, it helps to be aware of the six basic types of web pages. Each has its own value and requirements.
Where to Send A Recording
Once you've completed making a recording, where do you send it for reviews, award entries, and copyright registration? (This list also allows you to add your own suggestions and corrections.)


Storytelling Concepts

Framing - the Unspoken Necessity
How do we know that a story is being told? The concept of "framing" clarifies many basics about the expectations inherent in telling and listening to stories.
Midrash - The Key to Interpretation
By "midrash," I mean the practice of adding episodes to a story, in order to clarify or change the story's meaning. This concept illuminates how meaning can be shaped - or radically changed - by simple narrative changes.
Plot Confusion?
Is it possible that "plot" is not one thing, but three? That identifying the three levels of plot is required before we can make a more general theory of story plot?


Storytelling In Society

Discovering the One and Only You
Celebrating diversity as listeners, performers, and in Storytelling In Society as a whole--among individuals but also among cultures.
Claiming My Heritage
A three-part process for reclaiming connections with all groups and their stories.
The Story Factor - by Annette Simmons
Storytelling is taking its place among the methods used to make the workplace more supportive and to help people gain true influence. (The forward from Annette's book, "The Story Factor.")
How storytellers lead
We have a potentially important place in society.
The Storyteller As Leader
Handout for 1-2 hour workshops given to storytellers.
The stereotypes of artists and of leaders are contrasted with alternate, complimentary visions of those roles.
Includes questions to answer periodically about the intersection of your leadership and your creativity.
A letter from the editor of Storytelling World magazine.
Flora Joy, in this warm, informative letter, explains the history, philosophy, and instructive mistakes made by this magazine.


Working with Stories

Changing traditional tales
"Some people tell me not to change a word of a traditional tale. Others say, I need to make it my own. What should I do?"
Finding an Ending for a Story
Finding a satisfying ending for a story involves twin processes that are important at all stages of story creation.
Finding the Heart of the Story
Finding the heart of the story is a process that involves willing listeners, a conceptual focus, and thoughtful use of various tools - including, sometimes, a written transcript.
Making Stories Participatory
How to adapt a story to include audience participation through voice, body, and listener suggestions.
First appeared in The Yarnspinner.
The Most Important Thing
How to determine what matters most in a story - and use that central concept to strengthen the story's structure and your telling of it.
First appeared in Storytelling Magazine.
New Themes From Old Tales
Is it possible to adapt a folktale so that it conveys your value - or must the value already be prominent in the story? In other words, do you only find traditional tales about values, or can you use them as spurs to create value tales?

Copyright © Doug Lipman



Doug Lipman

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This page was last updated on Thursday, March 10, 2016
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