While I've always loved escaping deep into the pages of a great story, and I've enjoyed writing since I was a child, I've never fancied myself a natural storyteller. I envy the writers whose stories gush from their minds faster than they can type. For me, each plot point, character, and scene must be pried from my brain.
Thankfully, I don't believe The Big Lie--that writers are born, and if you don't have what it takes, you'll never get it. Storytelling can be learned. Here are some ways we can become storytellers, and improve our skills:
Craft books: some of my favorites are Plot & Structure, Revision & Self-Editing, Hooked, Writing Magic, and The First Five Pages.
Critique partners: my writing buddies are so talented, and I learn something new from them each time I read their work. Yes, we help our partners when we critique, but we also gain knowledge.
Writer's days or conferences: I've only been to one-day conferences, but each time I've left the event feeling energized and ready to roll. If you're on a tight budget, like me, mark your calendars for the awesome WriteOnCon, taking place August 16-18. It's free!
Writer's and agent's blogs: the amount of information floating around the blogosphere blows my mind. Elizabeth S. Craig created the Writer's Knowledge Base (also linked on my sidebar). Type in the subject you need help with, and a long list of related blog posts appears. The Bookshelf Muse is an amazing tool for writers who need help with descriptions for characters, emotions, weather, and so much more.
Read great books: thanks to D. U. Okonkwo's smart comment, I'm adding this to the list. Thanks!
Lisa Green (one of my talented critique partners) wrote a great post about The Secret Formula to writing great books. And Justine Dell wrote this interesting post--I'm a storyteller, not a writer. Check 'em out!
Are you a natural storyteller? #jealous
What has helped you improve your storytelling skills?