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Fish Tales: Live Story Telling

January 17, 2013 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Everyone loves a good story. We use stories everyday to carry on conversations and make meaning of our days. And it is in the spirit of live storytelling that we launch our new bi-monthly storytelling evening event called Fish Tales.

The Gloucester Writers Center extends an open invitation to storytellers on Cape Ann and beyond to share their true stories with us. The stories must be based on your personal experiences and related to the themes that we select.

You tell your true story live in front of an audience. The story must be no more than five minutes from beginning to end. It should follow a traditional story arc having an introduction to set the stage, a story climax, and a conclusion. Those are really the only criteria that we have.

Ready to tell your story?

You’re intrigued enough by live storytelling that you want to try it. What’s next? First, try telling your story to a friend to see what he or she thinks; solicit some feedback. Next, write an outline to ensure that your story has arc and meaningful expression. Sketch out your story, add detail, and embellish where needed. Some folks may find that writing the story helps with the flow, but when you tell the story you have to do it without notes. No reading allowed.

Practice telling your story once you get the structure in place (and practice and practice to get it to five minutes).

When your story is ready, let GWC know that you’ll be attending and what your story is about. Or just show up. You do not have to submit the story for review before the event. Arrive at GWC and sign in. Take a seat, and we’ll call on you when it’s your turn to go. It’s simple and fun and powerful.   

Remember, you’ll want the audience to leave thinking about your story. Your story is your gift to them for showing up, so make it a good one!   

A few tips

Follow your instincts. If you look at the theme and a story jumps into your head, it’s probably a good one to develop.

Have meaning. A story with meaning is more meaningful to tell. Tell us about something that happened in your life that changed you. Tell us about a personal experience that moved you. Retell the moments or times of your life that moved beyond the mundane everydayness of life. Tell us about a shinning moment. Tell us about failure.

Avoid ranting and raving, complaints, or jokes. We all have them, those stories of people taking our parking spaces or the latest political move that we do not agree with. Fish Tales is not a showcase for any kind of rant, rave, pet peeve, or grumble. It’s also not a time for a comedy routine or to rattle off any number of jokes.

Memorize. Be fluent with your story. You should know your story backwards and forwards and have it ready to roll, even if you miss a step or can’t remember an exact detail. Be ready to tell your story from beginning to end with a fluid delivery and a powerful ending.

Be brave. Standing in front of an audience (or sitting and speaking in a circle) can conjure up fear that what we have to offer might not be good enough. Conquer that fear! You will be with other people who really want to hear your story. They are pulling for you and want you to be successful.

For more information or to let us know you are interested in reading please email us at:

maureenaylward@comcast.net, msnelling09@gmail.com, or try the newly made Fish Tales email address at fishtalesofgloucester@gmail.com


January 17, 2013
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm