Knowing how to be a storyteller includes understanding that the storyteller’s role is to help create scenes or pictures in the minds of the listeners. In doing so, we need to think about the characterization of the subjects of the story. How do they stand? What are they looking at? How do they relate to others in the story?
One way to do this is to understand the location and focus of the character at any point in your story. Where they stand and how they interact with other characters will help your audience understand the story they are hearing.
For example, some storytellers like to pace and move about as they tell a story. However, ask yourself, “Is the character I’m talking about right now pacing around?” If the character is not pacing, you should not be pacing. On the other hand, if you never move at all as you tell and yet you are portraying fidgety characters, the audience will also have trouble fully understanding the characters.
Also consider how tall or short the characters are. If a tall character speaks to a short character, what does it look like as the characters interact? Are they looking up or down at each other? When you are looking up or down to indicate size or location, you don’t need to exaggerate this difference for all audiences. Just a simple tilt of your head in either direction can be enough for the audience to see what you see. In some situations, you will want to use full-body motions, but it is not always needed.
Here’s a bit more on the subject in a Youtube video: http://youtu.be/KGxpO4H_E9w
You can learn more about characterization in the book, “How to be a Storyteller: Essays and Advice on the art of Storytelling” now available at Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. Photo courtesy of Fotolia.com