• Reading
  • Writing
  • Editing and Revising

"I've given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can't divorce a book." —Gloria Swanson

Renowned storyteller Jerry Apps brings his expertise in memoir writing to the public with his book, Telling Your Story: Preserve Your History Through Storytelling. With this book, writers will learn what makes a great story and how to make their stories great. Apps gives advice on a variety of storytelling styles from memoir to speaking on television and radio. 

 

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Range of Writing—Interviews Become Stories

In Chapter 5, "Research and How to Do It", Apps talks about the importance of interviews and how to conduct them. 

Ask a member of your family or community to interview them. With their permission, record the interview, then transcribe it. Write a story from their point of view. Don't just copy their interview answers. Rather, try to recreate the tone and feeling of their story in your own style. 

Production and Distribution of Writing—Writing Your Own Story

Apps talks about the necessary components of a story in Chapter 8, "What Every Story Needs". 

The elements Apps deems necessary are:

  • A beginning, middle, and end
  • Characters
  • Dialogue
  • Conflict
  • Suspense
  • Emotion
  • Details
  • Scenes
  • Time and Place
  • Context
  • Shows vs Tells
  • Layers
  • Theme

While Apps believes that all good stories contain all of these pieces, he also believes personal voice and style are what make a story great. 

Watch this short video analysis of Kevin Hart's storytelling style. Use the tips in this video or emulate another storyteller or comedian you like to strengthen your style and voice. 

Tip—Charisma on Demand's other videos are a great place to start.

 

Comprehension and Collaboration—Sharing and Editing Your Story

Now that you've written two different stories, it's time to share and edit one of them. Follow Apps' guidelines for being effective editing buddies on pages 116-118. Check each other's work for the important parts of a story. In a courteous and helpful manner, give your partners or members of your group tips on how they could improve their story and what they did well in their writing. Make notes of parts that made you laugh or smile, and passages that struck you as powerful, funny, or sad. Note passages that felt out of place, boring, fantastical, or unnecessary. Remember to be kind and constructive!

 

Supplemental Videos

A 5 minute snap-shot of Jerry Apps' documentary

Jerry Apps' "A Farm Story" in its entirety.