The spoken word

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Josiah DeGraaf 2 days, 4 hours ago.

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    Kayla Skywriter

    Hey guys, I have a few questions.

    So I recently read The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, and loved it. But, my question doesn’t really have to do with that. Um… *stares at ceiling and waits for inspiration for explanation*.

    Okay, let’s try again. I’ve always been interested in storytelling, but not just books. I love stories that are spoken, and after many failed attempts to tell my little sisters stories and listening to people read books aloud I have come to the conclusion that spoken stories are very different from books, and even from classic short stories.

    And yet, I can find spoken stories written down. Which is where the Stormlight Archive comes in. Hoid is an amazing storyteller. But all his words are written on the page of a book.

    How do I write spoken stories? What makes them different?

    I don’t know who to tag. So @anyonewhocaresaboutthistopic

    How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight for


    Josiah DeGraaf

    @kayla-skywalker Are you asking about how to write novels that also do well when read aloud, or how to craft good stories to tell aloud to others (even if they’re never written down)?

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at


    Zachary Holbrook

    @kayla-skywriter One advantage of telling a story out loud as opposed to writing it is that you can use your whole body to tell your story, not just your words. Gestures and tone of voice are can convey emotions to the point where the storyteller plays an active role in the tale he’s telling– something Hoid does, although you’ll have to work a bit harder at it since you don’t have his magical abilities.

    You asked about writing spoken stories– I’m not sure if it’s really feasible to write instructions as to what body language a storyteller should use as he tells your story, so it might be better to let each reader breath life into it his own way, kind of like how the same play can turn out differently with two different casts.

    You also have an opportunity to interact with your audience as you tell the story, which opens up a whole new range of possibilities. Of course, this will look different with each reading, based on how your audience reacts.

    Does that help answer your questions? I at least hope that it helps provide an explanation for what makes spoken storytelling different from that which is written.


    おはいよう. 日本語は好きです .


    Kayla Skywriter

    @josiah I’m basically asking how to craft good stories to tell aloud to others.

    @toklaham-veruzia That partially answered my question on what makes spoken stories different, but I’m still not sure how to write them.

    Let me try to explain what I’m thinking better. Sometimes when I read books there will be a character who tells another character a story. And often there is something very unique about those stories. Of course they play an important part in the plot and theme of the book, and that certainly helps with their appeal. But when I try to write out a story to be spoken by a character it doesn’t work.

    So what I’m asking is how to write a story that is being spoken by a character, or that I could tell to others.

    How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight for


    Josiah DeGraaf

    @kayla-skywriter Like Zachary alluded to, while a lot of the principles of written storytelling will carry over to oral storytelling, thinking about your body language and voice is also really important as delivery will either make or break an oral story. I’d also recommend being flexible and being willing to “deviate” some from your original plan given the interests of your audience. Pay attention to when the audience is bored and when the audience is engaged and be ready to summarize or expand on different parts depending on how interested they seem to be in them.

    The other thing that makes oral stories more unique is that the author has a much more obvious role in them than with written stories. I often find that strong oral stories are very-much tied to the speaker’s voice–even more-so than novels written with a strong voice–and so bringing yourself and your own voice and manner of speaking into the stories more will also help to strengthen your oral storytelling skills.

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at

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