Oral History

Oral History

All cultures around the world are rich with interesting stories. Sometimes they include the elements of the local folklore, personal anecdotes or reimaginations of history. Everyone has witnessed a great storyteller. As humans, it is part of our culture to share. We are all inclined to create an inclusive social circle. There is a need to share an experience.

That is the power of language. It can bring people together. The is how media started. Unrecorded stories were shared, facts became altered, and stories changed. Disorganized word-of-mouth evolved over the course of civilization.

Now we can write, record and publish in a matter of minutes. Our social circle is larger. Our sphere of influence is much larger. Yet, somehow maintaining that sphere of influence is a feat few master. These masters are our greatest storytellers.

Storytellers do more than ramble on. They present an enticing piece of information. Capturing the minds of your audience is not as easy as it might sound. It is not about throwing around four-syllable words that have no place to “sound smart”. It’s about creating something memorable. Your audience won’t pay attention to anything you do if you don’t engage them.


Stories have many different elements. Play with them. Use them and have fun. These elements create a variety and structure to your work. All stories need a plot, not just an outline of the story, but it must show a process. This is development. A story without any form of progression is just a flat piece. A story doesn’t need to be a personal account or something fictional; it can be an informative piece.

All stories have characters: they can be humans, animals, or abstract entities. They can be real or imagined. Sometimes you can have your reader as a character. Including your audience into the story will make them feel like it was a tailor-made piece. It shows that as a writer you are not afraid to make educated inferences about your target readers; you are not afraid to get to know them.

The setting simply adds context to the story. This will set the scene for the sequence of events you want to highlight. Events are used to show the major points in the story. As you would think, there is a build-up, the climax and the conclusion to these main points. They create an interest in the story.

Major events should not be bland sections - they help to show the development that the plot warrants. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Add figurative language, make informed decisions about the sentences and paragraph structures you create. Examine your word choices. Everyone has experienced some part of oral storytelling. Its seizes us in how effortless it is. It makes us think. For some inexplicable reason, our thoughts drift back to it. That is the power of our words. That is storytelling.