TELL me a story: Prompt Three

May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello again, everyone! It’s been a little while since the last video prompt and, well, forever since the last response, but I will not give up! Did those guys in that place with the wall and the cave give up when the bad guys broke through and there was only one way out but it was treacherous? (Forgive me. We’re having a Lord of the Rings Trilogy Marathon today.) No! They did not. So we soldier on.

This is part of my TELL me a story project, an attempt to build a community of oral telling online through video readings. For more information, check out my first post about it.

This week’s prompt is to write about someone you know personally but in the first person.

So, pick a person. Your mother. Your girlfriend. The woman who comes in to the store every day and buys the same thing. You know something about these people. You know a little about their taste and some things they’ve been through. So write in their voice.

Try to make it revolve around a story. Have something happen, if you can. It’s not just about “hi, my name is Rachel, I’m 5’9″ and my blood type is AB”. You know these people, so prove it!

Remember, all you need is a webcam and a YouTube account. You can record videos of your reading directly through your webcam and upload them immediately. If you happen to have problems figuring it out, there’s a Contact link at the top of the page (oh, or I guess you could click right there), and I’d be happy to help.

Well, let’s get to it, then. Here’s my response.


TELL me a story: Prompt Two

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bird Flowers

Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday. I thought we should celebrate another week with another oral story telling prompt. If you missed the first post, no worries. I’ll explain.

I’ve started this project called TELL me a story to try to bring out an online community of people that tell stories. Yes, you can write stories and be a story “communicator”, and I’m not really going to be a stickler for the language, but just to illustrate the importance of what I’m trying to do, you can see that even the phrasing leans toward oral story telling.

It’s how we tell stories every day. “You’ll never guess what happened to me today!” The rest isn’t passed on in a note. It’s carried through your voice, from one person to the next. That’s the vitality that I want to bring into this community and this idea: that action of sharing your story through your voice to another person who’s actively listening.

That’s where video prompts come in. They’re like regular writing prompts, but instead of posting your text in the comments, you’ll record your piece in a video and post the link in the comments. Making a video is extremely easy, so don’t let that be your excuse. If you have a built-in webcam and a YouTube account, you’re ready to go. Just click upload and then record from webcam. If you have any questions, you’ll find my contact information in the contact tab of this blog.

So have I convinced you? Are you ready and raring to go? Come on, let’s get to it!

Today’s video prompt is: I am a baby bird strapped into a catapult.

I won’t let you have all the fun to yourself! Here’s my response.

Happy writing and happy telling!


TELL Me A Story: Prompt One

April 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

Before I moved to Chicago, I had no experience with hearing my work read aloud, unless it was excerpts of my English paper the teacher wanted to share with my British Literature class Sophomore year. Right from the start at Columbia, however, there was this idea of writing not just as words on a page, but as words to be spoken, passed through the vocal chords. That is, after all, the way stories were told long before they were written and paragraphed and comma’ed.

This is something I want to experiment with.

What if we could make an online community, right here, right now, of sharing stories orally with one another?

It can’t be too difficult.

If you have any kind of a new-ish computer, you have a built in web-cam, and it takes hardly longer than a snap to set up a YouTube account. Even better, YouTube has the option of recording a video directly from your webcam to the website to upload. It’s incredibly easy.

Now, you might be asking why it’s important or practical to tell stories orally. First, look at the phrase: TELL me a story. When we were young, we didn’t ask our mothers to WRITE us a story so we could put ourselves to sleep by moving our eyes over words. We wanted to hear the story woven from the fabric of her voice. Second, it’s the way most stories are told. You tell stories to your friends and family every day, about what happened to you at work or on the train, or something you wished had happened to you, but really didn’t. By this logic, it should come naturally, so it couldn’t hurt to try.

The first prompt, given to me by my tutor in our session on Tuesday, will be this:

Write about something that happened to you in the past week using a third person voice.

You can add in fictional elements; it doesn’t have to be completely true. But you must first write it, then TELL it to us.

If you’re nervous about making a video (or too young), feel free to still post your response to the prompt as text in the comments of this post.

Okay, fine, let’s get to it!

Without further ado, the first TELL Me a Story submission:

Happy writing and happy telling!


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