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.