Lesson 2: Story Craft

Storytelling Education - Lesson 2

Story Craft Introduction

Lesson 2 in the storytelling education series is going to introduce the different facets of story craft, how they fit into the storytelling and why this is important.

What is story craft?

Whether you know it or not, you participate in story craft every time you speak to someone. In essence story craft is the skill of communication. How are you going to deliver your message in a convincing, enjoyable and engaging way?

This is why story craft is important.

Now communication is a skill, some people are naturally better and some worse – the big thing here is that it’s a skill and you can improve.

How does story craft fit within storytelling?

Storytelling is made up of three major components – Why, What & How. Our last lesson- Lesson 1: Having a massage, deals with the ‘Why’. Story craft covers: What and How.

To help eek out these finer aspects of story craft we can ask ourselves a series of questions that will help to articulate and refine the story.

‘WHAT’ questions

  • What is the topic and content of your story?
    • Does this best support the message?
  • What happens in your story?
    • Who are the people and characters – what are their attributes?
    • What are the places and what are their qualities?
    • What are the events – and what is their significance?
  • What are the emotions you want the audience to feel?
  • What type of language will you select to use.
    • Word choice – Simple, Complex, Jargon, Slang?
    • Tone of language – Authoritative, supplicant, commentary, point of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd)?
  • What rhetorical devices and techniques will you use?
  • What must be included (critical content) vs. what could be cut?

‘HOW’ questions

These questions focus on delivery:

  • How will you structure the story?
  • How will you connect with and capture your audience?
    • Sensory language that ‘paints’ and picture in people’s minds
    • Humour
    • Emotion
    • Honesty
  • How will you use your voice – tone, tempo, volume, speed, emotion, pitch, accent?
  • How will you stand, move, posture – how will you use body language?
  • How will you evoke emotion in the audience?
    • Unexpected turns (good or bad)
    • Describing emotions: either yours, others or getting the audience to recall specific emotions
    • Escalating or diminishing voice and tone
    • Constant variation – think: just enough of something but not too much


In lesson 2, we have introduced aspects of story craft and have covered:


Story Craft is:

    1. The WHAT and HOW of storytelling.
    2. This the content and the delivery.


Story craft is important because:

    1. It is the art of delivering your message in a convincing, enjoyable and attractive way.
    2. It is the SKILL of communication.


How deals with:

    1. How will you structure your story
    2. How will you connect with the audience
    3. How you will use your voice
    4. How you will use body language
    5. How you will evoke emotion


WHAT deals with:

    1. What your story contains
    2. What happens
    3. What it does & doesn’t include
    4. What emotions you want to create
    5. What techniques you are going to use
    6. What language you will use