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Developed by Mountain Quest Institute. Storytelling. The Thread of Humanity. Storytellers agree…. Story is a specific structure or narrative Has a specific style, a set of characters and a sense of completeness Has a beginning, a middle and an end The beginning sets the routine

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storytellers agree
Storytellers agree…
  • Story is a specific structure or narrative
  • Has a specific style, a set of characters and a sense of completeness
  • Has a beginning, a middle and an end
    • The beginning sets the routine
    • In the middle, something happens to upset the routine, going on until …
    • A new routine is established (the end).
four aspects of story
Four aspects of story
  • The telling
    • Marks its humanity
    • Sent out into the world as an act of faith
  • The something to tell
    • Something worth telling that matters to the teller and the listener
  • The character
    • Habits of choice that shape who we are
    • Our core, our essence, that which is remembered
  • Telling significant actions of characters over time
    • Duration of the action of the story itself
    • Duration of the telling

A story is the telling of the significant actions of characters over time.

time honored sequences
Time honored sequences
  • Initiating event motivating character(s) to attempt a certain goal, leading to a consequence, which promulgates a reaction. Tension builds with an expectation of eventual resolution (denouement).
  • Central character sets out on a journey, overcomes three obstacles, ending with radiant sense of unity and well-being
  • Departure, initiation, return (hero’s journey)
  • Uniting story imagination with the power of one, two, three, resolving in four (pulse-beat hear rhythms)

Transformational tales are the single largest thematic topic in storytelling …



  • We can only answer the question
  • “What am I to do?”
  • If we can find the answer to the question
  • “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?”
what do stories do
What do stories do …
  • Dreams somehow unclog your mind and help you tune into the unconscious world from where you can draw experience and information. I think that’s what stories do. (Allende)
  • In the world of imagined reality, the reader enters into the role of co-creator with the author. (Birkerts)
  • We make ourselves through myth. (McDaniels)
  • Wisdom is often ascribed to those who can tell just the right story at the right moment and who often have a large number of stories to tell. (Shank)
  • The narrative language of stories is the most appropriate instrument to communicate the nature and shape and behavior of complex adaptive phenomena. (Denning)
value of personal storytelling to individual
Value of personal storytelling to individual
  • Invests our lives with more meaning
  • Connects us more vitally with others
  • Develops our creativity
  • Strengthens our humor
  • Increases our courage and confidence
  • Renders our lives more memorable
  • Builds network relationships
story as knowledge
Story as Knowledge
  • Knowledge of the world is more or less equivalent to our experiences
  • We understand experiences in terms of those experiences already in our memory that we understand
  • So new ideas are dependent on old ideas
  • Context helps us relate incoming information to those experiences already in memory
  • Stories provide that context.

Knowledge is experiences and stories, and intelligence is the apt use of experience and the creation and telling of stories. (Shank)