Storytelling tips from The Moth

Went to a Moth storytelling slam in NYC the other week. Packed! Hundreds of people. So supportive of each other. Felt like a bizarro version of the standup world where everyone is polite and pays attention and is encouraging to each other. I kinda hated it. But it was interesting.

FYI, The Moth site offers up these storytelling tips:

Have some stakes.
Stakes are essential in live storytelling. What do you stand to gain or lose? Why is what happens in the story important to you? If you can’t answer this, then think of a different story. A story without stakes is an essay and is best experienced on the page, not the stage.

Start in the action.
Have a great first line that sets up the stakes or grabs attention.

No: “So I was thinking about climbing this mountain. But then I watched a little TV and made a snack and took a nap and my mom called and vented about her psoriasis then I did a little laundry (a whites load) (I lost another sock, darn it!) and then I thought about it again and decided I’d climb the mountain the next morning.”

Yes: “The mountain loomed before me. I had my hunting knife, some trail mix and snow boots. I had to make it to the little cabin and start a fire before sundown or freeze to death for sure.”


Here's a sample Moth story from a comic: Colin Quinn - Toast. ("When asked to perform at Robert DeNiro's birthday party, Colin finds himself in over his head.")

Related: Stakes [Sandpaper Suit]

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