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July 29, 2013 / anthonykzullo

3 Tips on How to Become a Better Storyteller

What's your storyIn my last post, What is Art, I talked about how at the heart of any art piece is a story that the audience must either be told or helped to interpret.  In this post, I wanted to give you some tips on how to tell a better story, not just through writing but through any medium.  So here are three steps listed below on how you can improve your piece of art.

1. Know Your Medium

To be a better storyteller, you have to know the ins and outs of the medium that you’re working with. You should understand the intricacies of the craft no matter what that is. For writing, that would mean you need to understand grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary. For music and dance, this could be rhythm, tempo, and harmony. Whatever medium you choose, it is of utmost importance to learn your tool set. Without it, people will be more focused on the flaws versus what is done well.

2. Engage the Senses

In order to tell a better story, you have to show it more, and the only way for you to do that is by engaging your audience’s senses. How do you engage their senses?

Well, it depends on the medium. With music and painting, where the viewer or listener has to interpret the piece, one should use contrast in color and rhythm. This contrast is what the viewer is going to notice. For movies, you also use color, but you also use sound and movement to engage your audience. Now, with novels where you are told the story, you have to use your words to create imagery. Write about her feathery touch that tickled his skin, or the way that the blood on the moon burned against the night, and etc.

3. Engage the Emotions

After you have studied your craft and engaged your readers senses, you now have the skills necessary to conjure different emotions from your audience. Now this is the most powerful thing you can do. It’s the one thing that will set your piece a part from all the rest and will make your piece memorable.

For pictures, you do this through color and through what you focus on in the piece, whether its a gun or someone crying. Movies also rely on color but also use music to set a mood along with a number of other different tools. In writing, you do this through theme, plot, and characterization. You use different characters and different actions to engage your readers’ emotions but only after engaging their senses.
Of course, not everyone will be able to drum someone’s emotions or engage someone’s senses through their first piece, but through continuous practice and persistence, they can get closer and closer. And with every piece they create, they’ll be able to tell a better story.

Anthony Zullo is a novel writer who aims to self-publish his book in late 2013 or early 2014 The Guardian’s Charge:  Book I of the Bloodborn Series, which is a paranormal/dark urban fantasy about what happens when the six alien Gods of Niburu return to Earth to decide the fate of all Life.  To follow his pondering thoughts and to communicate with him, check out his twitter @anthonykzullo.


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