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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: part 12 (suggestions)

Art Your Heart into Storytelling I worry that people who promise to science the shit out of storytelling haven’t been doing it long enough to understand how linear reasoning can ruin the flow of the creative process. Wise mystics used stories precisely to capture life’s mysteries intact, so anyone who promises to de-mystify storytelling needs to

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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: Part eleven (templates)

  User Experience Stories: As <Persona> I want <What?> so that <Why?> I remember teaching storytelling to Microsoft engineers in the early 2000s and explaining what I thought of as “story thinking” only to be told “no, that’s design thinking!” And it is, sort of. For me story thinking has always been agile enough to

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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: Part ten (templates)

Story as Problem/Solution It’s tempting to define story as a simple problem/solution equation. But problem/solution doesn’t accommodate the reality that humans experience problems that are simultaneously external and internal, and frequently caused by ourselves as much as the actions of others. Limiting a story to a format of problem/solution risks forcing a narrative to misrepresent

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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: Part nine (templates)

A Story Spine The best storytelling templates arise from the arts. Improv artist Kenn Adams laid out what he called a “story spine” as a mechanism to help children and adults play with improvisational theatre. According to Kenn, the origin of his template arose from his desire to bring arts, creativity, and improv play to

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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: Part eight (templates)

“And, But, Therefore” Contrast is key to the structure of any story. For example, characters with a recognizable internal struggle provide the most engaging points of reference. It is actually easier to visualize a CEO who takes paternity leave, a hero who stutters, or an enemy who loves dogs than it is to imagine a

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Annette Simmons

Storytelling Moral Survival System: Part seven (templates)

Templates for Storytelling It is part of the storyteller’s art to tinker with details. Story templates are a wonderful shortcut to framing a message (moral) as a story. We must heed a few words of warning, though. The risk of relying on a favorite format is that every story cooked according to the same recipe

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Storyteller’s Confession: My Secret Mission

I’ve been trying to infiltrate the halls of power for decades. My secret mission is to increase the diversity of thought by teaching those without a voice how to tell their stories and by teaching leaders how to find and retell stories that broaden everyone’s understanding.

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 8 of 8

We need a Magic School for Storytellers Thirty years before J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series imagined a magic school that taught apprentice sorcerers how to avoid abusing the power of magic. Le Guin points out early in the series that “even to light a candle is to cast a

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 7 of 8

Truth in Storytelling When I wrote the first edition of The Story Factor twenty years ago, I began with the idea that people don’t want more information. They want faith in you and your positive intentions. I never suspected that two decades later we’d be discussing an explosion of stories that intentionally undermine this faith. Without

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 6 of 8

The Moral Dilemmas of a Lion, a Scarecrow, and a Tin Man Frank Baum’s original introduction to The Wizard of Oz, written in 1900, made it clear that he felt children no longer needed the stereotypical “old-time fairy tale” that “may now be classed as ‘historical’ in the children’s library.” Baum claimed the time had

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 5 of 8

  Blueprints for Building Trust Learning to drive was fun until I hit the mailbox. I burst into tears, blaming my dad, “You told me not to brake when turning corners!” It wasn’t my fault that he neglected to clarify I should brake before turning the corner so I could release the brakes while turning

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