I remember as a kid being so excited when my father would read to my sisters and me. Being there was five of us girls, we’d scamper to the couch, pile on as close beside him as possible, and let him reveal the wonderful world of storytelling…or even non fiction.
My father, unfortunately, could never sit with any book without us piling on his lap. He’d read science or history books, encyclopedias, and numerous books on wildlife (the ones about bugs were so cool!). Any time he hoped for a moment of quiet to read, five kids discovered him and joined him for a reading.
He often joked about reading and rereading certain stories to the point he was sick of them, so he’d change words around or make up stuff. We’d catch on pretty quick.
I also remember on camping trips my father had this amazing way of storytelling around the fire. Stories started “And it was just like this…” with an ominous tone in his voice. As tales played out, he changed his voice into snarls and growls for monsters, voices for men and women, or even sound effects to paint a wondrous story out of sound and word.
It wasn’t until I was older I realized some of those stories were old monster movies. Attack of the Killer Shrews is by far scarier at a campfire, with horrible sound effects and my youthful imagination than the actual movie.
It just goes to show you that ultimately, through the characters, plot, tension, ‘show-don’t-tell’, and the many other elements of crafting a story that sometimes you need to remember you’re telling a story to entertain people.
What are your thoughts on the topic? What elements of storytelling do you appreciate most?