Art Gallery / Handmade Market

Where Stories Come From

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Where Stories Come FromEvery artist is a story teller. That is the common thread running between all artists working in any medium. Obviously the novelist tells a clear story from beginning to ending but others may only convey a mood or feeling which are stories in their own right. The dancer uses movement to tell their story. The poet uses the rhythm of language to tell theirs. The musician tells a story with harmonic sounds that can pierce the soul. The movie industry uses a combination of all the art forms to tell story, and when done well, it is great storytelling indeed.

Where do these stories come from? Whether they are true life events or fiction, the storytelling starts in the imagination sparked by any number of things; often the simplest of things. You might witness someone choking on a piece of toast. Others come to their aid and before you know it the entire incident is over. But something you noticed doesn’t leave your mind. You can’t help but think on the persons facial expressions and the emotions they must have gone through. The thought of death briefly crossing their mind, the relief when the threat was over, and the embarrassment that followed. A series of questions begin to emerge. What did they regret the most at the thought of dying in that moment? Who would be affected by their death? Why were they embarrassed? How do they see their own social standing? Who are they, where did they come from, and where are they going? What catastrophic events may have unfolded if they missed their next appointment, if any? Would anyone have missed their passing? As you ask these questions your imagination begins to answer. Before you know it, a story begins to unfold. The story may be so in depth that you choose not to tell the part where the main character almost died on a piece of toast. The thing that sparked the story may actually have no place in the story. It was just a spark.

As obscure as they may seem, these are creative sparks, the real muses of life. Take note of them. Observing others and the world outside your normal routine can give you insight into yourself, telling the stories that lurk deep down. Stories that would never see the light of day had you not explored them. As you tell these stories you will inspire new stories from others, and their stories will inspire you in return. The spark may come from a well lit photo. It may come from a section of music that creates just the right mood that calls to the surface a character you had never known before. Ask yourself the series of questions, and set yourself to telling the story in the medium you love.

You may surprise yourself with the things that come from your imagination. There is no reason to be afraid of exploring it. It may take you to dark places but it is only in your imagination. Do not judge yourself on any dark things that rise to the surface. Explore these things as far as the story pushes them. The story has a way of reigning in the ideas and fitting all the pieces together.

You may not consider yourself a writer but if you are an artist, you are a storyteller. How will you tell your story?

Listen to our podcast as we discuss storytelling and character development with our son singer/songwriter, Gabriel Knight Hancock.

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