Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A new storytelling group forming in Indianapolis

Here's the announcement:

We are a group of professional / serious storytellers who intend to form an independent Traditional Storytelling* Guild with the initial purpose of meeting once a month to work on traditional stories**; practice telling to the group, share constructive feedback and ideas.  There is no group like this that meets on a monthly basis in Central Indiana.  We will set meeting time, place and further activities based on the needs and interests of the group.
 If you are interested, please contact the guild facilitator,
Ken Oguss at TVOA@AOL.COM  or 317-938-8743

(*Traditional Storytelling here specifically means the art of speaking a recalled story as opposed to a story read aloud, or a memorized story told word-for-word.)
(** Classic, Traditional, Stories, Legends, Myths, Fables, Tall Tales, Folktales, Fairytales, Works of Fiction and Fancy, etc.  as opposed to personal or family life stories.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's not always a dark night...

We've told our ghost stories and supernatural tales around campfires,
in  quiet darkened rooms,
outside in the park as the sun set and night fell.
Here's an example of a another interesting setting for seasonal stories...
a mild and sunny, splendid October day,
a peaceful churchyard,
and a fine backdrop of brilliant leaves.
Perfect for slightly spooky but not too scary seasonal tales.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bring on the dark (and hopefully not stormy) night!

Great set of stories at the auditions - listeners are in for a treat at the Festival of Ghost stories.   We were sorry we couldn't use every story -- if you are not telling with us this year, please please bring a story back next year.

Now, everyone, get ready to come to Bryan Park on Friday, October 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to hear a concert of truly entertaining scary tales!

Remember to bring a chair or blanket to sit on.
Remember to dress warmly.
Remember NOT to bring your little kids!  Content is definitely not appropriate!

Do bring your friends - it is good to have a warm body next to you while listening to chilling stories!

If you are a teller, remember to gather under the tree at 6:30.
See you all there!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The annual Festival of Ghost Stories is a concert of seasonal stories on the Friday before Halloween.

What does that mean?

It means many different tellers, many different voices, and a variety of tales and tale types.

It means that the coordinator of the event has to put together a script in which each individual story fits together to make one entertaining evening for the listeners.

It means we can't all tell the same sort of "ghost story".

Fortunately there are lots and lots of types of appropriate stories:
the traditional "jump" story;
the scary urban legend;
the "true event that happened to ME "(or my friend);
the mysterious happening that makes you shiver and wonder;
the encounter with deathly danger;
the gross-out yucky detailed bloody tale;
the suspense hold-your-breath until the end story;
the warning about creatures to fear story;
the violent death resulting in haunting story;
the explaining why people fear something legend;
the making fun of ghost stories story....
and of course, many more.

We will think about the relationship of one story to another as we put together the script for the Festival.
For example, a really intense story might be followed by a lighter one,  a serious and thoughtful story by an active and lively one.
And certain types of story (like the sudden-scream-make-you-jump type) may be limited to one example only.

What sort of story are you preparing for this concert?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Storytelling Environment

If you read books on sharing scary stories, or if you go online and look for websites with suggestions for telling scary stories, you will almost always find advice on "controlling the environment".  You'll get great advice about dimming the lights or building a campfire or creating a spooky atmosphere. You'll be told about eliminating distractions and about making eye contact with each audience member.

HOWEVER - at the Festival of Ghost Stories in Bryan Park you will have to work with a very different setting.
You are in the park, and the park is dark - but you are on stage.

Go on, go up those steps and on to the stage.
There is an audience out there in the dark - can you see them?
Once you are standing on stage under the bright lights you probably won't be able to make out many folks beyond the front row. 
Can they see you?
Well, the lights are on you, and there's a back drop behind you,
so certainly the closer audience can see you. 
Maybe they can catch your expressions and gestures from half way back.

But look where people are setting up their chairs and blankets.
They are waaay up the hill.
You are going to be a tiny silhouetted form up there on stage.
They will hear you - you have the microphone.
It can be a really effective storytelling environment.
Just not an intimate one.

Think about this when you pick out your story.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Looking for a Festival Story

Guild story tellers are getting ready for the Festival of Ghost Stories on October 24. 
We're looking for a tale to tell -- and wondering what makes a good tale for this event?
This is the first in a series of posts that will consider that question.
To begin with:  our tales can't be too long -  only about 10 minutes, at most 12.
Even shorter is fine.  Longer is not.
(This does mean that you HAVE to time your telling.  Out loud.  Before the auditions on Oct. 15)
So right away we're looking for something that can be told in a constrained amount of time and still be effective.  
Take this as a warning not to fall in love with a story that will have to be cut and edited and re-trimmed to fit the time.  We've all done that and can tell you that it is far better to start with a shorter story.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Who's telling at the Festival of Ghost Stories?

When you see an event that features "The Bloomington Storytellers Guild", it means that the performers are either members of this group or specially invited guests.
Members of the Guild pay dues to be part of the active tellers group.
So if you are thinking that it would be fun to tell at the Festival of Ghost Stories (and it would be fun!)  make contact with us before the auditions on
Wednesday, October 15,
6-9 pm
Monroe County Public Library, room 2-B
You will need to present your story at this audition session.
You can bring your dues to the auditions.
About those auditions:
this is a "preview" session that serves several purposes, including giving you feedback on your presentation.
If you have not told as a Guild member before, you should come prepared to tell your entire story.
If you are a frequent teller, be prepared to share the beginning or a segment or an outline of the story.

Everyone should try to get information about the title and general content of a story that is being considered to the Event Coordinator well before putting a lot of time into learning and polishing it.  This allows the coordinator to keep us from duplicating stories or from having too many of the same style of story, and you won't have the disappointment of having picked a story that doesn't fit the event.

The Event Coordinator will consider all stories in view of the overall concert, and may accept or reject stories depending on the needs of the script.

More on story selection coming...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Turn your calendar over and mark....


Come join us for a cup of coffee (coffee not actually required) at Bakehouse EAST on Saturday, September 6th, around 10:00 a.m.
Conversation, questions, information -  your chance to get connected with the Guild again.
Wednesday, October 15th, 6--9 pm, room 2B at the Monroe County Public Library on Kirkwood Avenue:   Auditions for the Festival of Ghost Stories.  Watch for more information about the type of stories we'll be looking for.

Friday, October 24, 7 - 8:30 pm:  Annual Festival of Ghost Stories, in Bryan Park.

Okay, you got that?  Calendars marked?  Good.  Watch this space for more info, or email Guild if you have specific questions.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stories on the Street

We're taking to the street - 4th Street - to kick off the Spoken Word Stage performances for the 4th Street  Festival of Art.
You'll find us out there on the asphalt at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 30th.

We'll be hanging around afterwards if you want to talk to us about the Storytellers Guild -- maybe over a cup of coffee while we watch the crowds go by and before we go admire all the wonderful art at the show.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Goodbye, Summer -- Hello, Fall

Those Summer days of campfire tales and songs are fading into Fall, and a new storytelling season is beginning.
September will be here soon, and the Guild will be reconnecting with everyone to get a new season going.
Want to get involved?
Send an email to the Guild address and get on our email distribution list.
Call the coordinator.
Like our Facebook page.
Watch for more info coming soon!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why we need more words for "Green"

"As for the use of words -- they are for the storyteller what notes are for the musician or colors for the artist.  A good, well-rounded vocabulary is a rich possession.  It is out of words that storytellers create those pictures that captivate the listeners; for it is through the medium of pictures that the story is told and gathered in by the listeners.  Words should be strong, of simple meaning; they should have color and that quality which arouses the imagination."
Ruth Sawyer,
in "How To Tell a Story"

Friday, April 4, 2014

Here's an opportunity to improve your art!

May 30-June 1, 2014
Announcing a supportive, challenging, helpful, enlightening and fun
Storytellers, Writers,
those of you who want to increase your effectiveness in your workplace or community through story!
Are you one of these people?
Then, this intensive coaching weekend is for you!

Conducted by two nationally renowned professional storytellers and story coaches,
Beth Horner and Susan O’Halloran

This coaching weekend will be rigorous and supportive with structured feedback sessions that are safe, practical and effective.
You will leave with clear direction, knowing your next steps to reach your goals.

Sometimes, we just need the structure of setting aside a weekend to get done what we’ve been meaning to do – work on our stories!
You know how powerful stories are. Give yourself the gift of laser attention from two premiere story coaches.
 Sue and Beth quickly create a safe environment that fosters freedom to experiment. They are both attentive and skilled listeners...they seem to have listened the story right out of me. They helped me find meaning, the essence and the arc of my family story. And there was lots of laughter! 

WHAT: A weekend in which you focus on your own specific story or project by being coached one-on-one. In addition, you will observe others being coached and thus, learn from their process and insights.  

WHO ATTENDS: Experienced, professional and new storytellers and writers plus those using applied storytelling within their organizations, communities, or for their own careers. Space is limited in order to give each participant individual attention. 

WHERE: At a private home in Evanston, Illinois

WHEN: Friday, May 30, 2014 (7:00 pm) to Sunday, June 1, 2014 (ending at 5:00 pm)

YOUR COACHES: Your story coaches, Beth Horner and Susan O’Halloran, each have over 30 years experience performing their stories to national and international audiences plus helping other artists, nonprofit and business leaders tell their stories in ways that are genuine, moving and unique to each person’s distinct style.

In addition to performing at the International Art of Storytelling Festival, multiple times at the National Storytelling Festival and on Live From National Geographic, Beth Horner has served as narrative consultant for the Johnson Space Center's StoryMining Project and presented storytelling workshops for scientists at NASA’s FameLab Astrobiology and for engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.

Susan O’Halloran has presented at the National Storytelling Festival, the Smithsonian Institute and was story consultant for the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces. For her film and video scriptwriting, she has won awards of excellence from the CINDY competition, the U.S. Industrial Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Advisory Board. Sue has appeared on PBS, ABC Nightline and inThe New York Times and has coached hundreds of nonprofit and corporate communicators.

Both Sue and Beth are recipients of the National Storytelling Network Circle of Excellence Oracle Award.


$550 (includes two hours of power coaching one-on-one with Sue and Beth on your individual project)*

Meals, lodging and travel expenses on your own

*Each individual coaching session plus the full weekend intensive will be facilitated by Sue and Beth together.

You get two experienced coaches at once focusing on you and your story!

Yes! I’m interested! What do I do now?

Go to: to fill out an online application and receive more information.
Join Beth and Sue for this powerful weekend!

Ellen H. Munds
Executive Director
Storytelling Arts of Indiana

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carol Birch Workshop

Guild members were privileged to have an afternoon of listening and learning presented by Carol Birch.
It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the art of storytelling,
to be inspired,
and to think about dimensions such as character, setting and culture expressed in story.
Thank you, Carol, for your help and guidance!

Friday, February 21, 2014

When the storyteller loses it...

Sitting right at the storyteller's feet, curly-headed Alaina says loudly " I didn't do it!"

Monday, February 3, 2014



Our annual concert of tales of all sorts -- traditional folktales and wisdom stories from many cultures, as well as original and literary works --voices as varied as the members of the Guild telling.

This Friday
February 7
7:30 - 9:00 pm
Monroe County Public Library Auditorium
(enter through Kirkwood doors, the library itself will be closed.  Doors open at 7)

This is a FREE performance.
Sponsored by Monroe County Public Library.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Whole Story: A Workshop with Carol Birch

A Workshop for Storytellers

Carol Birch


The Whole Story: Using Imagery To Extend The Story Experience

The real art of storytelling is restoring the primacy of the imagination in tellers and audiences alike. This presentation, which helps storytellers bring character and setting into sharper focus, is easily adapted to meet the storytelling experience of the audience. The goal is a more precise re-creation of an imaged world, one that has the vividness and conviction of daily living.
Join us for this workshop on 
Sunday Feb. 9th 2014
at the 
Unitarian Universalist Church
2120 N Fee Ln, Bloomington, IN 47408
 2:00 -6:00  pm


2-2:30 p.m.--Registration and coffee/tea, cookies
2:30-5:30 p.m--Workshop with breaks for restroom and refreshments
5:30-6:00 p.m.--Wrap up

Cost for non-Guild members:  $25

Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting ready for Wintertelling

Now that the intense holiday time is over, we settle into the brief days and long cold nights of January.  Time to think of a warming story, one you want to share for Wintertelling.  We'll be meeting to try out our tales on Sunday, January 26, at 3:00 at the main building of the Monroe County Public Library.

Even if you haven't a story to tell, you can look forward to the evening of February 7th, when we will gather for the annual Wintertelling.