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  • How to prepare for a storytelling show: "The Show Must Go On" (series of posts)
How to prepare for a storytelling show: "The Show Must Go On" (series of posts)
Written by
Tamiko Nimura
May 2012
Written by
Tamiko Nimura
May 2012

Over at The Seattle Star, I’m writing a series called “The Show Must Go On” about taking my work from page to stage. It's a series for writers who may be interested in participating in storytelling shows. It's about writing, performing, yoga, the creative process, and—of course, the thread that connects them all—fear.

Post #1, "The Show Must Go On"

Excerpt: "In about eight weeks, I’ll be in a storytelling show, down here in Tacoma. And having signed up for this show, I am now cursed (or blessed) with abundant irony. I am terrified that I don’t know how to tell a story."

Post #2,"The Story We Tell Ourselves"

Excerpt: "I’ve signed up to do a storytelling show, though I’m not a natural storyteller. I pitched my story because being in a show sounds like fun. Because oral storytelling is a skill that I want to learn as a writer. Because I used to be a theater kid. And because as much as being in front of an audience terrifies me, I still love to perform. Then, predictably, stage fright sets in."

Post #3,"The Structure and the Stakes"

Excerpt; "One piece of my self-assigned homework last week was to look at more storytelling guidelines, so I did. This set of storytelling tips on The Moth, hit me hard, especially this part: the stakes of the story need to be clear to you, and to the audience. Good news, then. Just by writing last week’s post, I figured out another piece of of why this story’s been tricky. I hadn’t identified the stakes of the story yet. Bad news: I didn’t know what the stakes were yet."

Post #4,"Off The Page"

Excerpt: "My plan was to write a draft of the story, and then cut and adapt the scenes. But all things work together for good, at least in this case. Before I spiral much further into angst or research or other forms of writerly avoidance and overthink-age, my producer asked if we could meet to run through the story and workshop it."

Post #5, "Behind The Scenes (An Interview With My Co-Producers)"

Excerpt: "I’ve been preparing to perform in Drunken Telegraph: From Living Plank to Pine Tree, a storytelling show in Tacoma. It’s been a great adventure to think about taking my work from page to stage. For this week’s post, I’ve got an intermission post of sorts, or—to mix my theater metaphors—a behind-the-scenes interview with the show’s co-producers, Megan Sukys and Tad Monroe."

Post #6, "The Albatross"

Excerpt: "After working through issues of structure, I’ve got my first headstand story pared down to several bullet events, made into bullet points, and then the takeaway, or the insight and conclusion. I’ve got my first line, and I like it: ‘Last year, I discovered how NOT to take yoga classes: like a straight-A student.”

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