Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Storytelling

“When a Storyteller Dies, a Library Burns”


I think we’ve all known a storyteller — Storytellingmember of the family, immediate or extended

But, I’m sure you’ve heard that stories haven’t been printed and circulated for all that long in the history of the human family…

And, of course, we’ve had way less time for stories offered digitally…

My published stories are free to read ( to yourself or to others :-)  just checkout the left side-bar…

The quote in today’s title is an old Moroccan saying I saw in a video and in “…an original folktale that celebrates the power of stories and storytelling.”

The video is about a master storyteller in Marrakech, Morocco who feels his end-time is near and begins training a few young people to take his place…

This video itself is a well-told Tale: sorry, if you have to suffer thru a short ad at the beginning :-(


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Visit The Story Bazaar

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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It’s International Jane Friedman Day !


Jane Friedman Well, actually, it’s not really “International” Jane Friedman Day—just a day on this blog when I’ll share 6 articles by Jane that have accumulated in my Bookmarks. :-)

If you use my handy Top-Tags Widget (down a bit in the left side-bar) and click on her name, you’ll find this post (’cause I’ve tagged it…) and a copious amount of additional posts featuring a woman who’s said, on her About Page:

“I have a special interest in how the digital age is transforming writing careers, publishing, and storytelling. Rather than taking a dark view of how the Internet era has affected writers’ livelihoods, I’m more interested in how revolutionary change can inspire new business models, and how authorship will ultimately evolve. I believe history is on the writers’ side: they’ve been sustaining their careers in ever more innovative ways since the era of Gutenberg. Furthermore, I don’t think that business and art are at odds—I see how they inform and push each other to flourish.”

And, since digital self-publishing is totally transforming so many folks, I lead my sharing with her article entitled, Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book, that has a video and these major sections:

1. A Quick History of Self-Publishing
2.The Most Common Ways to Self-Publish Today
3.Self-Publishing: The DIY Approach I Recommend
4.How Ebook Self-Publishing Services Work
5.Creating Ebook Files
6.How to Self-Publish a Print Book
7.Investing in a Print Run: Yes or No?
8.Print-on-Demand Recommendations
9.Maximizing Your Book Sales
10.More Resources

And, in case you self-publish and haven’t really primed the world to receive your book, here’s Jane’s article, So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What?

Then, comes an article entitled, The Advice to Pursue Your Passion: What Does “Passion” Even Mean?, in which Jane explains:

“This is partly why I avoid the word ‘passion’. It is an excellent way to stoke someone’s anxiety….in the current cultural moment, the word has become ever more fraught—it’s tinged with a value judgment, that there’s something wrong if you haven’t discovered your passion and found the way to make it into your career. The capitalist pursuit of passion is the new horrible form of enlightenment we’re told to chase.”

And, to explore a particular “capitalist” passion that has many writers trapped on their own treadmills, I share her desperately needed article, The Pressure to Release More, More, More Titles.

And, to round out those four tool-box articles with two rather specialized topics, here are:

What Is a Hybrid Publisher? and A Writer’s Guide to Permissions and Fair Use.

If you take those links and study those articles, you’ll be further along the learning curve than most aspiring writers…
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Visit The Story Bazaar

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

You Are a #Storyteller and You Can Change Lives . . .


When I was growing up, I’d often heard, “Everyone has a novel in them.”.

If you think my punctuation in that last sentence is wrong [ .”. ], I could beg to differ with you; but, that’s another post

Still, I’m a writer and storyteller; but, being a blogger has lots more freedom—freedom of expression, and of punctuation

So, whether you have a novel in you or not, I still maintain that you’re a storyteller.

It’s really hard to not be a storyteller—even simple questions like “How was your day?” can inducing storytelling.

So, why did I choose that image of the man with his mouth taped shut?

Partly because of all the oppression in the world (which I’ve told stories about) but also because “How was your day?” could, if a person is encouraged, turn into a real, publishable story—the thing is, folks, especially those little ones we call “kids”, are usually not encouraged enough—at times they seem like we’ve put tape over their mouths—or, hearts

However, there are many ways to tell a story.

Part of a comment on a post I did about two years ago (Harnessing the Power of Narrative for Social Change), went like this:

“…many people have watched the video on news channels of Tara the cat saving her 4 year old owner from a vicious dog attack. The video told a story that was compelling and amazing and moving. It made a point through story about badly brought up, untrained dogs. It was more powerful than any sermon.”

Here’s that one minute video:

That’s one way to tell a story

Plus, that incident could be the impetus for a short story (or, a novel…).

Well, what about the title of this post—You Are A Storyteller and You Can Change Lives . . .?

Perhaps you’ll agree you tell stories like the answer to the question, “How was your day?”; but, “Change Lives”…?

Telling someone else about your day, if you tell it from your heart, can change their life.

Try it sometime………

And, as far as helping kids do this, check out The Telling Room.

Also, you may want to watch this video with Susan Conley, one of the co-founders of The Telling Room. It could change your mind about storytelling


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

#Writing Can Be All #Fun & #Games . . .


storium - online storytelling game Anyone who’s been following this blog should be able to tell that the title of this post must have an interpretation beyond those words’ surface meanings

Those who may be reading one of my posts for the first time may wonder about my mental condition since writing can often be anything but fun and games

So, I must quickly reference a past post—Storium — The Online Storytelling Game.

When I wrote that post, nearly two years ago, Storium was still in Beta and looking for support on Kickstarter.

Recently, Storium opened up to the public.

Even though it’s evolution over two years has turned it into an even better storytelling medium, my descriptions from that past post are good enough to let you know enough to, perhaps, go check it out:

“Have you ever played a game and had it turn into a story? 

“Have you ever read a story and felt like it was a game?

“How about playing a game that actually helps you and few other folks write a story?”

O.K., there’s the basic concept

Then, I went back into my blogging history concerning storytelling and games:

I’ve blogged before about how stories and games can interact:

The Fiction Game

“Is fiction just a game authors play with readers?”

Writing & Games ~ Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Which Is Which…

“…when you’re writing, it can sometimes seem like you’re in a game with your characters and you’re not sure who’s going to win…”

Games for Writers ( or, really, anyone :-)

“If you want to write your best you need to be your best; and, if well-selected games can help you be your best, what are you waiting for?”

Then, there was their own description of Storium:

“Storium is a new kind of online game where you and your friends tell any story you can imagine, together.”

“Stories are part of what makes us human.”

“They’re all around us, from books and movies to TV and video games.”

“Experiencing a good story can be one of life’s great pleasures. But telling your own can be even more fun!”

“Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more.”

“In each Storium game, one player is the narrator [though, now, the narrator role can rotate amongst the players], and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story.”

“The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome.”

“In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction.”

“Everyone gets their turn at telling the story.”

And, I must include their Bullet Points:

“What makes Storium special?

* Total freedom: You decide what happens in your story.
* Multiplayer: Write and play with your friends, online.
*Asynchronous: Play at your own pace.
*Worlds: Pre-made playsets that help you tell stories in different settings and styles. [or, make your own World…]
*Something for everyone: You can tell any kind of story you want!”

Then, there’s the actual story that I and a few friends wrote with Storium

We all had real life interfere with the game so it does end abruptly :-)

Storium is free (with paid upgrades available), it’s fun, and it just might turn you into a writer (or, if you’ve already jumped off the cliff, make you a better writer…)

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

~ Muriel Rukeyser

And, here’s the Team behind Storium.

Now, a video to Show & Tell :-)

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“Harnessing the Power of Narrative for Social Change”


As a writer, I often wonder about the future… 

Power of Narrative for Social Change

Image courtesy of miguel ugalde ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/ugaldew

Actually, because of some of my research, I hold the future in Great Wonder.

And, because I’m a writer, I have the power of words to help me, even if falteringly, to potentially shape some of the Future.

What if you knew about an organization that could help you  “change the story on the issues that matter most.”

Change the Story

Some say we humans are story-telling creatures.

Think for a moment about all the stories you hear every day—from family, friends, co-workers, bosses, corporations, and governments

Well, that organization that can help change the story that surrounds certain issues has a Vision:

“We believe that together we can move towards a just economy, a healthy planet, and a better future for all.”

Something else this organization says, that evokes deep feelings for me, is:

“We believe the root cause of today’s crises lie in the potent mythologies that normalize an unjust status quo.”

The organization is the Center for Story-Based Strategy.

One thing I find fascinating about this organization is their willingness to teach the power of sharing compelling stories to help create a better future for our human family and this home, our planet

The title of this post is the title of a .pdf you can download—Harnessing the Power of Narrative for Social Change—which includes the elements of story-telling as well as this quote:

“There are many different ways to win the Battle of the Story whether it’s by re-framing the issue, amplifying previously unheard voices, or offering new solutions. The story-based strategy approach offers a flexible methodology for campaign or community stakeholders to encapsulate their common experience and vision into a powerful, shared narrative.”

Here’s another .pdf you can download—Giant Whispers: Narrative Power, Radical Imagination and a Future Worth Fighting For…—which has this quote:

“Beyond our much-hyped opposable thumbs and our ability to stand erect on two feet, humans are unique in the animal kingdom for our relationship with narrative. We humans are storytelling animals, constructing our social reality through our ability to create, interpret, and contest stories about the world around us and our place within it. We think, dream, remember, and believe through the filter of narrative.”

Do you tell stories?

Do you feel they have power?

Do you wish you could learn how to make them more compelling?

I’ll leave you with this video, which brings up a story from Amazon


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