Three Pillars of Spontaneous Storytelling

There’s an endless stream of story.

I’ve developed three pillars of spontaneous storytelling to help you create and share off-the-cuff stories. As well as having lots of fun, this genre of storytelling enables us to express our creativity, stretch our imagination, improve our memories and develop our speech and language skills.

In almost every story you can expect to find three fundamental elements which are:

  • Person – character, animal, creature
  • Place – the setting or backdrop for the story
  • Plot – to make an interesting story there’s needs to be an obstacle of some kind, for example a challenge, quest, a baddie, a journey.

Since we don’t work out a Plot in advance of telling a spontaneous tale we can use the three pillars to act as a springboard into stories. These pillars are:

  • Our Imagination
  • Our Five Senses
  • Our Memory

Imagination is like a muscle, the more we use it the stronger it becomes. Try playing my variation of EYE SPY, suitable for two or more players.

Find a small cloth / napkin, which you can easily hold in your hand. Thinking about PLACE, the first player holds the cloth and creates a shape, telling the other players what it is, for example: Eye Spy with my little eye a: MOUNTAIN.

The next player takes the cloth and makes another shape.

Eye Spy with my little eye a: MOON CRATER or a desert, river, waterfall

Each person comes up with something new… continue for as long as you’re having fun, but you’ll find that you’ll think of more and more places the longer you play. There’s only one rule! You aren’t allowed to use any idea you’ve come up with whilst it’s someone else’s turn… let the cloth inform you when it’s your hands.

Our Five Senses. For the majority of us sight is our dominant sense so there’s a tendency to tell stories from this perspective. However, if we bring our other senses into stories we make them richer and more engaging.

Memories. When we clearly picture a place or person in our memory this can prompt a story idea, our language also becomes far more descriptive and vivid, enlivening our tales.

In my storytelling workshops, and in my book Seven Secrets of Spontaneous Storytelling, I share techniques, games and exercises to help you to weave stories using these pillars, to create rich, rewarding and often silly spontaneous stories!

Seven Secrets of Spontaneous Storytelling by Danyah Miller is published 1st November by Hawthorn Press.

Book a virtual storytelling workshop here.

The Reading Agency

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