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New dates! Now combined with the Storytelling Coaching workshop:

March 24-26, 2006!

I guarantee that you will get all the key storytelling information, techniques, perspectives, and helpful experience that you expect—or I'll refund every cent of your tuition.

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"Doug Lipman has coached me for years. He is a delightful, incisive teacher...a joy." - Jay O'Callahan, Marshfield, MA
  • You can register for this workshop online, via my secure server.

Growing a Story Up

An Intensive Weekend Workshop with Doug Lipman

I remember learning my first few stories. At that point, I felt that, if I could tell it to an audience without leaving out something important, I knew the story.

Later, I began to understand that stories go through a process of maturing. That my newest story wasn't at the same level as the stories I had been telling for a while.

Still later, I noted that the stories I helped others with went through a predictable set of struggles. Not every story struggled in every way, of course. But the categories of struggles were limited to, say half a dozen.

I continued to learn more stories. 30. 50. 100. By the time I had learned over 150 stories, I had developed a repertoire of techniques for "growing stories up" - no matter which struggles they were facing.

"Since the workshop ended, I've found that it has impacted me in too many ways to list. I fell like a whole new area of my life has opened up to me. I may need some very specific coaching on getting started professionally soon!" - Loren Weiss, Baltimore, MD

Naturally, I relied on these techniques in my hundreds of coaching workshops around the U.S and beyond. I learned which ones worked best for certain tellers and which ones needed to be introduced through exercises before they could reliably be used.

Now, for the first time, I'm offering a workshop that gives my top 15 techniques for moving a story from its early stages to maturity as fast as humanly possible.

IRON-CLAD GUARANTEE: If you don't find that this workshop gives you techniques that work astonishingly well for your stories, I'll refund every cent of your fee.

In this workshop, you'll learn fifteen of the most efficient, major techniques for moving a story forward.

The story you start with is always only a new-born, even if it's precocious.

But in this workshop you'll learn how to grow your story into vital, satisfying possession of its full powers - through all the predictable issues as your story progresses from the "terrible two's" past the "sulky seventeens."

You'll get constructive, supportive feedback from me and from the other participants. You'll learn techniques for gaining new perspective on a story, overcoming blocks, developing character, and maintaining the story's integrity - as well as for re-imagining and re-energizing a story. You'll get help with structure and intention.

Most importantly, you'll get to try your story out several times in small, supportive groupings as well as to share the results of your efforts with the whole group.

"Very well done! It was a very safe atmoshpere. All participants were dearly respected no matter what level of story telling they were on!" - Linda Martin, Harleysville, PA

What Will I Learn?

You will learn enough concrete techniques, working principles, and new perspectives to keep you busy applying them for many months.

In particular, you will learn:

  • Why listening is like sunlight to just-sprouting stories
  • How to help a story grow rather than force it to become something it will never be.
  • Four key tips for training the listeners you need as an artist
  • Which steps you can omit in story development—and which ones, if omitted, will kill your story's growth.
  • How naming the good in your story engages your story-thinking potential and speeds development
  • When to protect your story from criticism and when to ask for open-ended suggestions—and what other choices you have for overcoming a story's weaknesses.
  • The key sensory modes in which to imagine your story—and how to engage your own creative imagination.
  • How to create characters that add to your story's central message or purpose, rather than distract from it.
  • When to use analytical thinking techniques, and when to become a radical follower of images.
  • How to give your story emotional impact.
  • How to heighten the drama of any scene.
  • How to give your listeners important information without putting them to sleep.
  • What to do when you're overwhelmed with all the ways to help a story come of age.
  • How to focus your story's meaning without narrowing it for your listeners.
  • And more...!

You will receive a distallation of everything I've learned about developing stories in my 30 years in the field. You'll learn what I had to learn through happy accident, bitter experience, and through coaching others on three continents.

In short, you'll learn the essential approaches and techniques it has taken me over three decades to learn, and that I dearly wish someone could have told me about when I started! I had to learn the long, hard way. You'll have a guide who can help you shorten your learning curve. This is the workshop I wish I could have taken in 1976!

What Story Should I Work On?

You can work with:

  • a story that you just learned,
  • a story that's been growing in you for years,
  • a story that's had to be temporarily "retired," or
  • a new story that I'll help you find once you arrive at the workshop.

Stories - and storytellers - at all stages of development are welcome. Come ready to work hard to turn a story from "not there yet" into "I hoped it could be this, all along!"

"The workshop, for me, was storytelling life changing experience. I had a goal to work on my Peace Corps stories and shape them into a presentable package. It seemed overwhelming to me as a project...I now have some ideas of what I can do to begin to shape these stories into a series of professionally told stories. The workshop was truly professional." - Lois Pines, San Jose, CA


Where Will We Be?

We'll be meeting at storyteller, professor, and story-mentor Wanna Zinsmaster's wonderful condo in Pasadena. You can read a full description of its wonders - including photos.

Jay O'Callahan says of Wanna's house: "Wanna has made an art of life. Her condominium is filled with art, giant balls, interesting books, and musical instruments."


I have led workshops at Wanna's for over a decade. Between Wanna's welcoming spirit, the beautiful art in her condo, and the balmy Pasadena weather, Wanna's house is a bright spot on my annual calendar. It's definitely one of my "spirit homes."

"What a bargain! Just one day of the workshop would have been worth the price of admission for the entire weekend." - Kitrina Kearfott, Cleveland Heights, OH
MY GUARANTEE: You will be completely satisfied with the workshop - or you'll get a 100% refund.

How many other storytelling workshops guarantee results? How many non-storytelling workshops? In a field where expectations sometimes outpace results, this guarantee should make you sit up and take notice. For once, you have nothing to lose!

Registration page

"The weekend work with you helped to put me in a much more powerful place.... Thank you for all you have done for me personally and storytelling in general. The Omaha workshop was an excellent experience!" - Roseanna Ross, St. Cloud, MN

"I have learned from your workshops that, under the right learning conditions, people's excellence WILL be expressed. There are learning conditions that encourage human excellence." - Lynne Burns, Ilion, NY


Why should I take this now?

Maybe you shouldn't. Only you can know when the time is right for you. But here are some reasons this is a special opportunity:

  1. This workshop will be held at Wanna Zinsmaster's wonderful home in sunny Pasadena, Callifornia.

    The workshop is limited to 12 attendees. Once these 12 slots are taken, the opportunity to take this workshop for this year will be gone.

  2. If you are creating or learning stories, but not perfecting them, you are only walking on one leg. The process of maturing a story compliments and enhances the processes of learning, creating, and adapting stories. And those processes enhance the process of story maturation. In other words, the work you do on this process will make your work advance in the creation and adaptation processes. You'll find yourself progressing as a storyteller much more quickly if you walk on both legs!
  3. This is appropriate for tellers of any level of experience and who tell stories in any context. Performers, social workers, clergy, teachers, etc., will find their experiences not only being validated, but contributing to the progress of others in the group.
"You created a climate that was tremendously supportive, a climate that allowed people to grow as storytellers. The other striking thing was how well the workshop accommodated a range of experience: the experienced people seemed challenged, and the beginners seemed unafraid." - Faith Mullen, Washington, DC

Yours in storytelling and creativity,

Doug LIpman's signature

Doug Lipman

"I felt this was a life-changing workshop. it opened a door, oh, many doors for me. I learned so much on so many different levels. as a storyteller, it allowed me to enter the creative space in a way that I craved and haven't found before." - Noa Baum, Silver Spring, MD


Registration page



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This page was last updated on March 6, 2006
Copyright©2006 Doug Lipman