stories are full of clearly defined incidents, and peopled
by rather flat characters with little or no interior life.
When the supernatural occurs, it is presented matter-of-factly,
without surprise. Indeed, there is very little affect, generally;
bloodcurdling events may take place, but with little call
for emotional response from the listener. (2)
Sagen, best translated as legends, are
supposed to have actually happened, very often at a particular
time and place, and they draw much of their power from this
fact. When the supernatural intrudes (as it often does),
it does so in an emotionally fraught manner. Ghost and lovers
leap stories belong in this category, as do many UFO-stories,
and stories of supernatural beings and events.
Stories of wise men are well known, such
as Solomon and Nasreddin. Modern actors, singers, rappers
and comedians can at times be storytellers. There is also
a distinct kind of contemporary performer called storyteller
who combines elements of these more mainstream professions
together with several others, to create performances that
are neither modern nor archaic. These performers may use
traditional, original, or historical materials.
Organizational consultants and managers
have also discovered the power of storytelling in organizations.
A good story of organizational transformation in one organization
might motivate similar organizations to change as well;
also, the informal stories people tell to each other about
organizational norms, policies and change initiatives permeate
organizational culture and reflect the meaning people.
Though nearly all humans tell stories,
many individuals have brought this skill to the level of
art. Storytelling Festivals feature the work of these individuals.
Elements of the storytelling art form include visualization
(the seeing of images in the minds eye), and vocal and bodily
gestures. In many ways, the art of storytelling draws upon
other art forms such as acting, oral interpretation, and
In the 1970s, the so called Renaissance
of storytelling began in the U.S. and resulted in many performers
becoming professional storytellers. Another result was the
creation of the National Association for the Perpetuation
and Preservation of Storytelling (NAPPS), now the National
Storytelling Network. This professional organization helped
to organize resources for tellers and festival planners.
As of 2007, there are dozens of storytelling festivals and
hundreds of professional storytellers around the world,
and an international celebration of the art on World Storytelling
Begiebing et al (2004) summarize personal
and professional experiences making successful modern films,
novels, biographies, articles, museum displays, and poems.
Even in these forms, storytellers try to create a sense
of engagement or dialog with the audience. As a professor
of English, Begiebing hypothesizes that the effective writer
provides just enough clues to get the readers imagination,
intellect, and emotional responses involved in figuring
out what is going on in the story. The stories that last
through the ages leave plenty up to the History museum expert
Barbara Franco describes how good storytelling techniques
can improve a museum exhibit.