The World Without Books

The World Without Books

There was a time when we didn’t have books in every nook and cranny of our homes and offices. There were no publishing houses, no Kindles or Nooks, no trashy bodice-rippers hidden under pillows and worst of all – no authors! But there have always been those who had stories in them, bursting to be let free. They were called Storytellers. They traveled and told stories in exchange for room and board. A storyteller would also carry news, perhaps even letters from town to town. People were hungry for news of the world and for new stories. It was like having the newest blockbuster finally coming to your theater.

Before books could be made, we first had to have an alphabet, and then a library of words. We needed people who understood that alphabet and also knew how to use the words on paper to tell stories. That person needed ink, a pen and sheets of paper. (And then we needed people who could read and afford a book. That’s a different subject altogether.) Telling a story and writing a story are two very different things.

When telling a story you’ll use different voices, facial expressions and body language. You might even get up from the fire pit and walk around – slowly or quickly depending on the story and the audience. When writing a story, you only have words at your disposal. It’s harder than telling.

You can consider this an exercise:

  • Tell a short story (between 1000 – 1500 words) using only words on paper.
  • You must make the reader believe he or she is sitting at that fire pit, under the spell of the Storyteller.
  • You can choose your subject, but please keep it clean.
  • And try to imagine what kind of story this pretend Storyteller would tell.
  • Share it with us next Tuesday, August 2. I’ll be sharing mine.

More later,


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