10 ways to learn storytelling
What can standup comedy teach you about storytelling
1. The Joke Cycle
First, a joke is told. Then the punchline. Then the audience laughs. Then comes the "turn". The audience starts to laugh but then stops when they realize it's not funny anymore. And then comes the "punch" where the audience laughs again because it's now funny again (in most cases).
2. A story has three parts: Beginning, Middle, and End
The beginning is when you introduce your main character and his problem or challenge. The middle is when he tries to solve his problem and gets in deeper and deeper until he hits bottom (the lowest point of his life). And then, at the end, he solves his problem and has an epiphany about who he really is and gains some sort of wisdom that changes him forever.
It doesn't have to be this way but if your story deviates too much from this structure people will feel uncomfortable with all these changes in direction and they won't like your story as much.
3. Don't tell stories about yourself
Tell stories about other people. If you tell a story about yourself, make sure there are other people involved in the story who can corroborate what happened if someone challenges you on it later on.
For instance, don't just say, "I went to Starbucks one day." Say something like, "I went to Starbucks one day with my friend Joe and we..."
And then continue with your story using "Joe" as your main character instead of you. This way if someone challenges you on it later ("Didn't Joe say he was never at Starbucks?") you can say to them, "Ask Joe."
This also makes it easier for others to relate to what happened in the story since they know who Joe is (and if they don't know him they can go ask him themselves).
Also, try not to use first person pronouns ("I") during a story unless necessary ("I did this", etc). This makes it more obvious that YOU are telling a personal anecdote rather than someone else might be telling a personal anecdote (which is why we prefer third person narratives over first person narratives). TheNitrome
Also, try not to use past tense verbs unless necessary (don't say things like, "I did this", etc). Past tense verbs give away that this took place in the past which might take away from your ability to tell a good narrative right now in real time if you keep referring back to what happened in the past tense verb tense .