Learn who won The Artist’s Road creativity-book drawing at the bottom of this post.
“Dare to be boring. Dare to be obvious.”
That was writing advice I received Sunday from creativity consultant Kat Koppett. Kat led a workshop on improvisation and storytelling at the Creativity in Business Conference October 23rd in Georgetown, D.C, produced by Michelle James and The Center for Creative Emergence. That nugget from Kat came while she informed us how we should fill in the meat of our story spine, the heart of the story between the story’s catalyst and its climax.
“What is obvious to you may be very significant to others,” she said. Here are two ways this is true:
- As a reader (or listener) is following your story, they develop certain expectations for what is coming. You may assume some “obvious” detail doesn’t need to be included, but if the reader is eagerly awaiting it and you do in fact provide it, the receipt can be very satisfying to the reader.
- That detail may seem obvious to you, but each of your readers (or listeners) brings a different background and way of thinking to your story, so it may not be obvious to them at all.
It should be clear that this advice fits into a larger framework, one every storyteller is taught from Day One: Know your audience. This is a key aspect of improv storytelling as well, it turns out. Kat says a skillful improv storyteller masters how to “build a story to give it meaning” and “gauge the audience to make the story relevant to them.”
Do you see parallels between improv and your own creative storytelling?
On a final note, it turns out that of the thirty or so people at Kat’s workshop, I was the one she brought up to improv with her. I have a fair amount of experience with storytelling but very little with formal improv. That said, I’ve been spinning blarney to my children their entire lives, so I hung in there as best I could. It was fun, in fact, and I might just take an improv class at some point.
Now to the winner of a free book on creativity. You’ll recall every commenter on the first-anniversary post of The Artist’s Road entered a drawing, and I generated the winning number using this site. The winner is Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach Sue Mitchell. Congratulations, Sue!