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Vivian's Loft
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Our resident storytelling expert, for more than forty years (really!) Vivian Dubrovin has been telling stories and helping kids like you learn to create and tell. She has taught online courses, visited kids in classrooms, and published books, e-books and online help for young storytellers.

What she most enjoys doing is telling stories, and helping others learn to create and tell. Here in her loft you'll find some of her helpful advice, and answers to a common storytelling question. And if she ever has more to say, you'll find it here.

Craft ideas.

Vivian's Advice:

Make A Craft To Help You Tell A Story

Crafts are a helpful part of learning to be a storyteller, they're not just a bonus or extra activity for fun. Creating a craft to use for storytelling helps you learn more about your characters and your story, and helps you be more comfortable and confident telling to an audience. And it can help you realize how there are no “mistakes” in storytelling, and how to use anything that happens.
For example, maybe when drawing a face, the eyes are bigger than you meant or the smile is a little off-center, but then when you look at it, that character you just created becomes obvious: a wide-eyed fellow full of wonder but with a little mischievous grin. What stories might such a character tell? See how that happens? When creating, you're already discovering your story(ies)! Or maybe you keep dropping it as you are making something. Then, if that happens when you are telling, you don't have to be nervous, and can tell how that character has always been that way: athletic and adventurous, always wanting to jump up and get going, not wanting to be held back. And ask your audience, if they know anyone like that? Suddenly, it's not a “mistake,” it's part of your storytelling…and you learned that while you were making the craft. And that is true not just for beginners, but also for very experienced storytellers. For example, you might have seen the “glove puppet” on this website, well there's a quite a story about making that one!

So you could buy a fancy prop from a store, but if you make a craft–even a very simple one like a folded paper box, a stick wrapped with ribbons, or a fabric marionette–you begin becoming a storyteller.

Idea bubble.

Vivian's Answers:
Through many years of helping kids learn to create and tell stories, Vivian has heard many questions, and often the same questions from many young storytellers. You might have some of those same questions, too. Here you'll find Vivian's answers.

Q: How do I know if my story has a good ending?

A: The ending must solve the main character's problem in the story. So the ending is the opposite of the beginning. Remember, the magic word: “why.” Why does the character have a problem? The more you can answer this question, the better your story will be and the better the ending.

Sometimes a story is the best way to answer a question. Do you see how this story outline shows the ending solution to the beginning problem?
Rita's club is going horseback riding, but Rita is afraid of horses. So Rita brings her camera to take pictures of others so she won't have to get on a horse. Everyone thinks the pictures are a great idea, and that she should have one of herself, too. So they help her onto a horse, hold onto it and crowd around her, holding her tightly in the middle for a group photo. With everyone around her she isn't afraid. She later posts that picture as proof how she was brave enough to get on a horse.
If you know your character, the problem, and why it's a problem, the ending will become obvious.
You can find more ideas for creating complete stories and helping characters solve their problems in Create Your Own Storytelling Stories, and Discover Bright Fantasy: And Begin Telling Your Own Stories, both available in our bookstore.
A Quick Tip
From Vivian

For your best storytelling, create and tell about things you know about. Use your own life for inspiration.
Click HERE for more storytelling advice, suggestions, and stories from Vivian


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