storytelling tips from the moth

over the summer, i stumbled on the moth’s live storytelling tips while doing research for a project idea that came up between me and two folks from my better selves fellowship cohort (note that the tips are especially important for live storytelling, not all storytelling).

they’re excellent! the (short) full post is worth a read but i’ll include the tipsheets down below because i think they keep it pretty tight. i love basically everything stated in the “do’s” and “don’ts” but here are a couple things that struck me as particularly poignant:


“A story without stakes is an essay and is best experienced on the page, not the stage.”

too real. how often have i been listening to someone tell an awful story at a party or social gathering and just been so bored because there were no stakes? too often. that’s how often, heh. if the story doesn’t make clear why what happens is important to you, i’m bored.

no rants (my translation: stories can be healing)

this tip is framed as ‘no rants.’ and i can fully understand that. i’m sure it was developed from hearing people rant a lot and not tell a good story as a result.

but the positive reframe of this to me is quite powerful. and as camilo and i have been exploring in our poc healing circle work, sometimes telling stories can literally be healing. telling (certain, not all) stories out loud can help us process our experiences. and hearing other people’s stories can even help us open up truths about our own lives that we didn’t understand before.

so, yea, stories = therapy because stories can be healing.

there are many other excellent do’s and don’ts on there so definitely check them out if storytelling is of interest. if more people knew these rules, the world would be so much more interesting, lol.

the tipsheets

StorySLAM "do's" and "don'ts"

words / writing / post-processing
310w / 12min / 6min