Stories help us to connect to people and places. They are everywhere, but before you can use them, you need to collect them. This worksheet will enable you to gather and develop stories from your life.
Questions: You - growing up
• How did you like to spend your free time?
• What was your first toy?
• What was your favourite toy?
• What was the toy everyone wanted/was the most talked about?
• Where did you play most?
• What was your favourite board game?
• What was your favourite outdoor game?
• Did you use your imagination when playing?
• What was your favourite snack food?
• What was your favourite drink?
• What was your favourite food?
• What were your favourite clothes/shoes?
• What was your favourite film?
• Where was your favourite place to visit in your hometown?
• What was your most used electronic device?
• What was your favourite book?
• What item in your room did you use most?
• What was your favourite computer game?
• What TV programmes did you enjoy watching?
• What music did you like to listen to?
The first source to collect stories is from yourself. There are two lists of questions to get you started. The first is a list of questions about you in the past, you growing up before now. The second list has questions about you in the present, about now. You can go through the lists yourself or ask someone in your household to interview you.
You don’t necessarily have to answer all the questions, find out which question sparks a memory, an anecdote, a story.
Once you find a story, dig into it a little deeper:
Who is the story about?
Who else is in the story?
Where and when does the story take place?
Questions: You – Now
• How do you like to spend your free time?
• What is your favourite toy?
• What is the toy everyone wants/is the most talked about?
• Where do you play most?
• What is your favourite board game?
• What is your favourite outdoor game?
• Do you use your imagination when playing?
• What is your favourite snack food?
• What is your favourite drink?
• What is your favourite food?
• What are your favourite clothes/shoes?
• What is your favourite film?
• Where is your favourite place to visit in your hometown?
• What is your most used electronic device?
• What is your favourite book?
• What is the best place to visit in your hometown?
• What item in your room do you use most?
• What is your favourite computer game?
• What TV programmes do you enjoy watching?
• What music do you like to listen to?
DISTIL THE STORY
A story is a series of events that are connected through a theme. It’s a journey in which the character faces a series of challenges and by overcoming these challenges they discover or learn something. This task will help you develop your story and then find the message you share through your story.
Clarify the story Tell your story at least three times from the top of your mind (no reading from paper or notes). Speak out loud! Tell it to yourself in the mirror, to a family member, friend or even your pet. You could also choose to record yourself. If you are telling you story to someone, you might ask them to make notes. Aim to tell your story in 7-10 minutes.
Your story will change a bit each time you tell it, no worries, that’s the point. Some details will disappear, others will be added, but the heart of the story will stay the same and become clearer every time you tell it.
5-minute challenge You are going to tell the story again, but this time within 5 minutes. By shortening the time, you have to tell your story, you will need to leave out some of the details.
3-minute challenge This time tell the story in 3 minutes. Apart from leaving out even more details, you might need to condense the events or beats of the story a bit as well.
1-minute challenge You get the gist: tell the story in 1 minute. Make sure it is still a story with short but full sentences, instead of a list of bullet points.
Unveil the message You have told your story many times now and know the most important events that make the story. The next step is to extract the message by answering these questions: What is it that connects these events?
What is the challenge that comes back in each event?
What did the character learn from overcoming the challenges?
What is the moral of the story?
Now your story should be complete! To create more stories, go back to the first two lists of questions until you are inspired by another idea.