Find out how to make your own interactive story with Jump! Mag and storyteller Justine de Mierre.
Some people think stories are just for little kids, but stories are all around us. We watch them on television, we read them in books – we even listen to them when someone’s telling us about their great weekend!
Stories aren’t just fairy tales, they can be about businesswomen and athletes just as much as about princesses and trolls. They can even be about princess-like businesswomen and athletic trolls!
So, if you’re planning a get together with your friends why not give storytelling a go? An interactive story is one you can make up on the spot and gets everyone joining in – and it can be about whatever you and your friends are interested in!
Make your story circle and choose your storyteller
Get everyone sitting in a circle, so everyone can see everyone else. Decide if you’ll have a lead storyteller, or if you’ll take it in turns. If you’re taking turns you’ll need an object to pass round – a stick, a stone, a teddy – anything will do. Whoever is holding the object is in charge of the story at that time.
Choose your hero and what they want
Decide who your story is about. It can be an ordinary person, an animal, a superhero or anything else you can think of. One group I did this for came up with a golden-headed purple apple! Don’t add too much detail now – save that for the story. Now, decide what your hero wants more than anything else in the world. It can be serious or silly, but it must be something they have to go out into the world to get.
Begin – and get interactive!
Start with ‘Once upon a time’ or anything else you like. For example “Once upon a time there was a golden-headed purple apple. He woke up one morning and decided what he really, really wanted was a helicopter. So, he got out of bed and ran downstairs.” Whatever the action is get everyone to join in with it – running downstairs, brushing teeth, even surfing on dragons!
With an interactive story, the storyteller doesn’t make up everything up themselves, so try sentences like: “She decided to go to the….” or “Then he met a….” When the rest of the circle hears a sentence like that, it’s their cue to throw in ideas – just a word or a phrase, no big descriptions! (I once ended up with a cat with ten legs and 109 eyes!) Go with whatever sounds interesting and get straight back into the story. (Get everyone to agree at the start not to get upset if their idea isn’t used, otherwise your story will get off-track – and spare ideas are always great for other stories later!)
Make it difficult
Put obstacles in the way of your hero. In stories, there are normally at least three things that stop a heroine getting what they want. They can be physical – like a busy road – or maybe people that try to stop them – like an apple-eating giant! Get everyone to throw in suggestions about what they could be, and how to get past them. Don’t make getting round them too easy or your story will get boring.
The end – and rewind!
Have your biggest, hardest obstacle at the end and make it really hard for your heroine to get over it, but finally, let them triumph! Get everyone to join in with the cheering and general celebrations. Then, see if you can do a fast rewind of the story – including all the actions – to get your heroine back home again!
And that’s it! If you enjoyed it why not try again with a completely new heroine, quest and set of obstacles? You can experiment with silly stories, thrilling stories, scary stories, or anything you like. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it – so have fun!