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Creating Personal Stories with Impact

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Creating Personal Stories with Impact

A Workshop led by Doug Lipman

You can register online for this workshop via the secure registration form.

Fully guaranteed! You must feel that this workshop gave you just the help you need - or I'll refund your entire tuition!

"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, attorney, writer, and storyteller, Washington, DC

Personal stories have been a mixed blessing in the storytelling revival. They have widened the scope of storytelling and allowed us to share the experiences of a wide range of new voices.

At the same time, however, personal stories have sometimes been presented without the fully satisfying shaping that we’ve come to expect from a masterful traditional or literary story. They’ve even produced a backlash against their increasing popularity; in the extreme, opponents claim that they are “not real stories.”

"I do not think things could have gone better.  I felt each attender left feeling lifted up, feeling that they worked well, feeling that they had been able to develop their story or work on their issue in a strong way.

"I especially liked the way you took the energy of those of us in the room and helped us focus our energy toward the positive development of our own stories and the stories of the others." - Cynthia Changaris, professional storyteller and musician, Louisville, KY

This workshop helps you get the benefits of telling personal stories while avoiding the pitfalls. You will be coached on a personal story of your choice, and I’ll lead you in exercises to help you imagine, shape, and present your story.

"I worked on...a story from Philadelphia history that I was just beginning to work on and could scarcely remember the story line. That little story fragment has become part of a one-hour performance which I do with an African-American storyteller, called Voices of Germantown Women. We just gave the 2nd performance today, have 4 more performances coming up in the next month, and will probably be doing this show for a few years!" - Barbara Baumgartner, author and storyteller

What Can You Expect to Learn?

You’ll learn:

  • The single most common mistake in creating a personal story—& how to avoid it;
  • Three special demands that personal stories make of you—& how to meet them;
  • How to decide what to include and what to leave out;
  • What key audience expectation you MUST fulfill, to avoid falling flat;
  • Four reliable techniques to gain enough “distance” from the events in your story;
  • A universal method for adapting your story for the needs of different situations;
  • How to create a satisfying ending for your story;
  • Five valid ways to deal with “did everything in your story really happen?”
  • How to know when your story is ready to share with a paying audience;
  • What to do when you feel, "Who wants to hear about what happened to me?"
  • and more!

"What you ... do is nothing short of phenomenal. You somehow zeroed in on exactly where the problem was and, like a skilled surgeon, cut to the chase and exorcised it." - Marilyn Kinsella, professional storyteller, Fairview Heights, IL

By the end of the workshop, you’ll know how to create a personal story you can be proud of, that is satisfying to tell and to hear, and that has the desired impact on your audience.

"I now have some ideas of what I can do to begin to shape these stories into a series of professionally told stories.   I think the next step for me is to look for the places in the stories that need more expression by showing the listener what I saw and felt (rather than telling how I felt). 

"The workshop, for me, was a storytelling life changing experience.   Thank you. The other workshops and classes I have attended have been fun - this one was work. It was truly professional." - Lois Pines, storyteller and teacher, California

When, Where, etc.

We have the great privilege of holding this workshop in Wanna Zinsmaster's unique condominium, with its view of the mountains. Pasadena weather is reliably mild.

Wanna's condo is irresistably itself, just like Wanna. She's active, curious, welcoming and accepting. At the same time, she clearly follows her own path. Her place is filled with beautiful works of art - and very little furniture. "I like to have room to dance," she says. For someone who studied education and theology with some of the famous names of the twentieth century, she's disarmingly unassuming and only mentions that she's "Dr. Zinsmaster" when someone treats her dismissively. As someone who has nurtured countless storytellers in her area, she's generous and warm. At the same time, her back wall sports pictures of her dangerous adventures around the world - riding a camel in the Sahara, heli-hiking in Alaska, visiting Arctic penguins. And as the most physically-active retired professor I've ever met, she's a model of being your own kind of person, no matter what preconceptions society might try to mold you into.

There's a great motel a short walk away where most of the attendees will stay. We'll have lunches at some of the varied Pasadena restaurants. If you're coming from the frigid Northeast, you'll think you're in paradise!

"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. When I wanted to do real deep work I did voice workshops with the Roy hart work. But this was directly in MY world, in my medium. It was life giving!" - Noa Baum, storyteller and actress, Washington, DC

Note: As of February 2, 2004, America West airlines is offering low, low fares to nearby Los Angeles, that are being matched by some other carriers. It's a great time to book a flight!

February 27 - March 1, 2004
Friday evening through Monday afternoon
Location: Pasadena, CA
Limited to 12
Tuition: $395; $355 if you pay in full by Friday 2/6/04.
For lodging information, email

Register now via the secure, on-line registration form.

Don't forget:

Register and pay in full by Friday, February 6, 2004 and you will:

  1. Save $40 on tuition.
  2. Get a free certificate for one hour of follow-up telephone coaching. Value: $125-475.

Register and pay in full for this workshop AND "Storytelling as a Dangerous Adventure" (February 20-23) and you will:

  1. Save a total of $80 on tuition.
  2. Get THREE free certificates for one hour each of follow-up telephone coaching. Value: $375-1425.
  3. Get a free recording of my upcoming telephone seminar, "Balancing Your Storytelling Life." Value: $15-30.

Need More Info?

For info about housing, travel, etc., please contact:

Denise Quinn
15162 Normandie, Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 857-6663

For more about the content of the workshop, please or use my contact form.



Doug Lipman

152 Wenonah Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 U.S.A.
Phone: (781) 837-1940
Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
Fax (toll-free): (888) 300-6665

Copyright©2004 Doug Lipman