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Story-Toolbox-art - 11/27/08


"Storyteller’s Tool Box - Bringing characters to life!" by THL Thomas Whitehart, aka True Thomas the Storyteller.


NOTE: See also the files: Bardic-Guide-art, bardic-msg, Entrtng-n-SCA-art, storytelling-art, Tales-o-Teror-art, Jestrs-Mumrs-lnks, Hornbook-art, Fyrecrawling-art, Bardic-Coachg-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Find more of this author's articles and links on his webpage:



Storytellers Tool Box -

Bringing characters to life!

by THL Thomas Whitehart, aka True Thomas the Storyteller


Storytelling 101, That wise old Guy, Aristotle


Aristotelian Plot.

All  stories have;

A Beginning

A Middle

And Resolution


A story consists of a premise, Antagonist, the Protagonist, Plot,Goal, Struggle, Resolution.


Why are Characters important to this equation?


Characters are the shortcuts we take to understanding. Characters personify the points of the story.


What are some other things characters do?


Move the story along.


Aid or Hinder

Provide Resolution.


By developing the characters we condense the story (using all our tools) to bring shortcuts to understanding. We also establish connection, for if we do our job right, we find resonance in ourselves and in our audience.


Where do characters live?

Inside us, and Outside us.


First exercise: Find a partner and describe a character from a fairy tale. But don’t name them. Have your partner ask questions of this character, and respond in character.


Taking apart the storytelling Voice-

1st Voice, the Teller/Narrator/Descriptive, External

2nd Voice, the Character, Person to Person, Extemporizing

3rd Voice, the Internal Character Voice….


How do we bring a Character to Life?

In a story, we have Story Senses-









All this can be described orally. But Several of these senses can be communicated via Meta-language, physicality, sounds, etc.


Exercise- Eating an Orange, and Schmoo.


Tip!-Always go for the agreement!


Pick a character-

And explore this character through your senses. First with eyes shut. Then, with sounds and actions.


Exercise- Get in the Skin. Crazy Sounds, Crazy Face.

Ask these questions- How important is this character? Have your character be interviewed?


Tips and Tricks, Use a mirror, Who is it like, In the car.


Exercise, Just how would the Big Bad Wolf brush his teeth?


Finding the Keys-

Key Gesture

Key Phrase

Clusters- Gesture, voice, posture, etc.



Internal vs External.



From Little Red to the Big Bad Wolf (aka Hairy Grandma!)


Finding that neutral space.

Using the power of the pause.


Practice moving from character to character (Goldilocks and three Bears)


Being a Story vs Performing a Story vs Telling a Story.

It’s all about personal style.


Collecting tools- Using your life experience, and watching those around you.


More Exercises: Different Ages. Different Status. Different Animals…


Playing against type- Dualities, Yes I do/No I don’t.


When in Character, what is your Character Doing?  Use your strengths. And play against your personal type as well.


The importance of eyes! Defining your space, the relationship between characters, and your connection to your audience.


All this lovely character work should not get between you and the basics

Be heard/Be Seen.

Make a Connection

Maintaining the Thread

Caring for your Audience.  Good luck and have fun!


Lord Thomas Whitehart/aka True Thomas the Storyteller.


He has been in the SCA since dirt was in beta test. He is professional storyteller, emcee and coach. His clients include Disney, the Getty, and hundreds of schools, museums and festivals. He is the Ard Ollav of the Q.M.E., and currently lives in Darachshire. (Westlake Village near Thousand Oaks)


In the SCA, he has produced 5 family concerts, 3 Bawdy concerts, and is one of the instigators for Baby Bard Fyrecrawl, Host-a-Bard, and a lot of other nonsense. He’ll be producing Concerts at this Estrella and Spring Potrero.  He’s always glad to help a fellow bard.





Copyright 2008 by True Thomas, 663 Fowler Ave., Newbury Park, CA 91320. <Truethomas (at) sbcglobal.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org