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Storytelling Tips with The Corner

The Corner is a space for sharing the true short stories of our experiences. Anyone can be a storyteller at The Corner, and anyone can come to listen to stories, too. But while sharing an anecdote in a chat with friends may come easily, telling a good story can be very difficult. Here are a few guidelines on telling stories at The Corner:

1. Your story should be true, and only you know what is true in your experience. That means that your story should focus on something you did or experienced (not something you heard secondhand).

2. Your story should be detailed. Specific details help the audience to understand your story and put themselves in your shoes. Just as important, specific details are enjoyable to hear and memorable for your audience.

3. Your story should be five minutes long. That means that, even though your story should be detailed, you’ll have to focus and choose important details that move the story along.


4. Speaking of moving the story along: You know that stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. What that really means is that you have to figure out where you want to start and where you want to finish, and fill it in. But when you do fill it in, try to find a key moment to focus on: this could be a turning point, a twist, or the central moment of your story. 


5. Stories should be told from memory--not read. You can create your story however you want--write it, record it, practice it with your friends and family; but when it’s time to tell it at The Corner, you won’t be reading your story. That doesn’t mean you have to memorize your story, as you would your lines for a play. It’s your story--you won’t forget it! It may come out a little differently than you planned, but that is what gives our stories at The Corner realness and life. And if parts change or some details get swapped, who’s going to know?


6. Your story should show an awareness of your audience. We’re a diverse, curious, and compassionate group--you should feel free to tell difficult stories, and you’ll find a lot of support here. But this also means you should give us a heads up if your story is going to cover something that you think could awaken trauma or trigger a listener. It’s all about empathy.


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