Cover image for Improving your storytelling : beyond the basics for all who tell stories in work or play
Improving your storytelling : beyond the basics for all who tell stories in work or play
Lipman, Doug.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Little Rock, Ark. : August House, [1999]

Physical Description:
219 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN4193.I5 L56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage.As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave -- a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on the arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. The wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthen her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.Whatever the obstacles, Ayla's inventive spirit produces new ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life: searching for wild edibles to make delicious meals, experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandoni must take, honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And then, there are the Sacred Caves, the caves that Ayla's mentor -- the Donier, the First of the Zelandonia -- takes her to see. These caves are filled with remarkable art -- paintings of mammoths, lions, aurochs, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. The powerful, mystical aura within these caves sometimes overwhelms Ayla and the rituals of initiation bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.Spellbinding drama, meticulous research, fascinating detail, and superb narrative skill combine to make The Land of Painted Caves a captivating, utterly believable creation of a long ago civilization and serves as an astonishing end to this beloved saga.

Author Notes

Doug Lipman is a storyteller, musician, Parents' Choice Award-winning recording artist, and storytelling coach and instructor

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

So many books give the basics of storytelling. Here's one for storytellers who have some experience under their belts but want to expand their horizons. Lipman, a storyteller, musician, and storytelling instructor, covers a wide range of topics, including amplification on the hows and whys of storytelling and imagery and body language. He also gives information on when to memorize, how to interact with listeners, how to plan and execute programs, and what to do for specific problems such as performance anxiety. Although this book will be useful for anyone who wants to improve his or her storytelling, it will be of most interest to the serious storyteller, or a person who is considering making storytelling a career. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Aspiring storytellers will be pleased to know that Lipman's down-to-earth approach allows for flexibility rather than an emphasis on memorization. A professional storyteller who has appeared at such prominent venues as the National Storytelling Festival, he presents a thoughtful framework that can apply to anyone whose livelihood depends on keeping an audience rapt, including lawyers, teachers and salespeople, although his remarks are more specifically tailored to performing artists. Advising the would-be speaker to "think in the present" when performing, Lipman articulates basic concepts in the use of oral language (tone of voice always prevails over meaning, he says) and of imagery and gestures. He believes that retelling a story informally many times helps the speaker determine what is most meaningful about itÄa connection he terms the Most Important Thing (MIT), since he firmly believes that a story's meanings flow from the speaker's MIT. In addition to a sensitive discussion of how to build a relationship with an audience, he also focuses on the importance of warm-up techniques, including the use of a "healing yawn" to reduce tension and get an oxygen boost, and numerous anti-anxiety techniques. The best result? In storytelling as in life, one must "combine the knowledge of how to work toward transformation with the patience to let it happen out of your control." (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The ancient tradition of storytelling connects all generations and cultures. Storyteller Lipman identifies the art, mission, and impact of this most treasured folk practice. Not everyone can tell a good storyÄit takes practice to develop expressions, voice control, timing, hand movements, style, imagery, and other details that enhance or detract from a good tale-telling session. Lipman, who has taught many of today's professional storytellers, aims his book at those who have begun to try their wings at local events and in situations that require more experience. His instructions do not tell you how to tell a good story, but provide the methods and reasons to allow you to make your own quick judgments and decisions. All kinds of audiences are considered, from preschool children to senior citizens, and sample stories are studied for content analysis and presentation suggestions. This volume belongs in all libraries for the storytelling staff as well as for patrons who want to learn the art of exciting narration.ÄRichard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Lipman uses theory, practical suggestions, and personal examples in this in-depth study of the relationships among story, teller, and audience. He delves into the definition of "story," structure and meaning, and models for learning a story. The author discusses the appeal of a tale to the teller; the conflicts, fears, and other psychological issues it may raise; and the emotional work that must be done before the telling. He explores the transfer of the tale's imagery by means of oral language, facial expression and body language, and voice. The book is easy to read and has an engaging and personal style. Lipman's guide is based on his own experience and that of other professional tellers. It is a must for those who strive to gain a higher level of skill, and who wish to make the story a transforming gift to the listener.-Judy Sokoll, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introduction: Storytelling Basics and Beyondp. 11
Thinking in the Presentp. 12
Helping You Make Your Own Decisions
The Case of the (Possibly) Bad Second Performance
Not Advice but Understanding
No Right Way to Tell Storiesp. 15
Locally Preferred Styles
Style versus Effectiveness
The Storytelling Trianglep. 17
Loving the Mystery
Exploring Each Component
Section 1 The Transfer of Imageryp. 19
Chapter 1 Oral Languagep. 21
The Variety of Expressionp. 22
Tone of Voice
Facial Expression, Gestures, and Posture
Eye Behavior
Orientation in Space
Multidimensionalityp. 29
Characterization through Clusters
Humor through Contrasts
Time-Based Languagep. 32
Nonreversible Time
Rhythm and Tempo
The Uncrowded Stage
Chapter 2 Forms of Imageryp. 41
The Nature of Imagesp. 41
The Ways Experiences Are Stored
Preferred Modes of Imageryp. 43
Learning to Transform Images
Chapter 3 Imagining Fullyp. 47
See the Sightsp. 47
What If I Can't See the Colors?
Hear the Soundsp. 50
Developing Your Aural Sensitivity
Feel the Muscle-Tension and Movementp. 52
Tuning In to Kinesthetic Images
Using Sensory Details When Telling a Story
Chapter 4 Kinesthetic Imagery and Characterizationp. 57
Open Versus Closed Posturesp. 57
Using Open/Closed Postures in a Story
Habitual Muscular Tensionsp. 59
Why We Develop Habitual Tensions
Tensions Begin Creatively, and Can Be Slow to Release
Male and Female Abdominal Tensions
Using Habitual Muscular Tensions in a Story
Transformation Is Fascinating to Watch
Body Centersp. 66
Using Body Center in a Story
In Support of the Key Conceptsp. 68
Using Multiple Body Centers
Using Multiple Muscular Tensions
Other Forms of Kinesthetic Imageryp. 71
Section 2 Your Relationship to the Storyp. 73
Learning to Learn Stories
Chapter 5 What Is a Story?p. 75
The Esthetic Expectations Behind the Fairy Talep. 76
Expectations About Story Attributesp. 76
Responding to Divergent Expectationsp. 78
Chapter 6 Learning the Storyp. 81
Beginning a Natural Processp. 81
How We Learned to Tell It
How We Changed It
Tell It Informally, Many Times
The Dangers of Practicingp. 84
What if the Story Didn't Happen to Me?p. 86
Chapter 7 Discovering the Meaningp. 87
MIT: the Most Important Thingp. 87
What Does This Story Mean to Me?
The Most Important Thing is Boss
The Next Most Important Things
To State or Not to Statep. 92
Conscious or Unconscious Connections
A Continuum of Ways to State Meaning
Chapter 8 Discovering the Structurep. 95
Outliningp. 95
Time-Linesp. 98
Other Tools for Understanding Structurep. 99
Chapter 9 Memorizingp. 101
Why Not to Begin by Memorizingp. 102
Using My MIT To Create a Structurep. 103
Working toward the Details
At Last, the Words
The Central Role of Deciding the MIT
Memorizing Someone Else's Wordsp. 109
Section 3 Your Relationship to Your Listenersp. 111
Chapter 10 Helper and Beneficiaryp. 113
The Beneficiary's Needs Come First
Being Clear and Agreeingp. 114
Fuzzy Situations
After the Performance
Stating the Expectations
Moving from Beneficiary to Helperp. 120
Telling a New Story As Beneficiary
Deciding to Tell As Helper
Special Problems with Personal Stories
When the Feelings Surprise Me
Chapter II The Four Tasksp. 125
Unitingp. 125
Ways to Unite
Invitingp. 128
Relaxed Confidence
Rejected Invitations
Offeringp. 132
Too Much Invitation
Acknowledgingp. 134
Chapter 12 Your Effect on Your Listenersp. 137
Leaning Forwardp. 137
Leaning Backp. 138
Special Problems with "Leaning Back" Stories
Some Genre-Related Effects on Your Audiencep. 141
A Response to Personal Experience Storiesp. 142
Chapter 13 Program Planningp. 143
The MIT for a Programp. 144
Planning by the Slotsp. 145
Unbidden Imagesp. 146
Chapter 14 Developing Audiences for Your Needsp. 149
The Rehearsal Buddyp. 149
The Home Audiencep. 150
Other Practice Audiencesp. 151
A Balanced Diet of Audiences
Section 4 Your Relationship to Your Selfp. 155
Chapter 15 Your Voicep. 157
Reducing Tensionp. 157
The Healing Yawn
The Sources of Tension
What Are You Trying to Do?
Changing the Decision
Special Problems in Teaching Voicep. 162
Vocal Warm-Upp. 164
Chapter 16 Performance Anxietyp. 167
Excitement and Fear
Readinessp. 168
Readiness Skills Increase over Time
One Uncertainty at a Time
Fearp. 171
What Is Fear?
How to Process Fear
Noticing the Actual Situation
Speaking Back to Common Worries
When Fear Can Be Useful
Chapter 17 Your Support Teamp. 181
Planning Buddiesp. 181
Many Helpingsp. 182
Three Kinds of Helpersp. 183
The Care and Feeding of Helpersp. 184
Intangible Helpp. 184
Section 5 Putting it All Togetherp. 187
Chapter 18 The Flexible Shifting of Attentionp. 189
Four Layers of Attentionp. 189
Warming Up a Preschool Audience
Act Two with Attentive Adults
Keeping My Attention Flexiblep. 192
Obstructions That Misdirect My Attention
Meeting My Own Needs--for the Good of Others
Chapter 19 Balancing the Details with the Goalsp. 197
What Matters Most in this Event?p. 198
Learning the Most Important Component
Intermediate Concepts
Connecting to the Momentp. 201
Which Answer Do I Keep Closest?
Creating the Strands of Connection
Conclusion: Transformationp. 207
Appendix How to Find Storytelling Organizations and Publicationsp. 211
Notesp. 213
Bibliographyp. 217