Midwest Book Review
"If you are new to the art of storytelling or want to move your craft up a notch The Storyteller's Guide
could be the advice you are looking for. The authors take 21 of the most common questions about storytelling and provide answers and advice from some of the most preeminent storytellers of today… …Most chapters also have a list of additional resources and a summary of the important points of the chapter. The Storyteller's Guide
is a recommended read for anyone who wants to get started in this art form."
The Story Bag
"The first line of the book tells it all: "This is a guide for everyone, because everyone tells stories." And with that, Holt and Mooney begin the monumental task of writing a definitive guide for all storytellers everywhere. Do they succeed? Is this the first and last word in storytelling? Well, maybe not, but they certainly make a good stab at it, and the result is worthy of a place on the rather short shelf of books about the craft of professional storytelling. (Others which come to mind are Harlynne Geisler's Storytelling Professionally
and Carol Birch and Melissa Heckler's Who Says?
) Tellers who have ever thought that they'd benefit from a few long, leisurely conversations with their favorite storytelling icons, (and maybe even the storytelling icons who find themselves wishing that a hectic festifval schedule offered more opportunities for sharing and schmoozing with fellow storytelling icons) will have their wishes granted in this book. Holt and Mooney have asked all the right questions ("How do I find the right stories? How do I create original stories? What performance techniques do I need to know? How do I control stage fright? What are the ethics of storytelling? How do I market myself? What is the life of a professional storyteller like? What should I know about censorship? What are the copyright laws?) Then they've gone to many renowned storytellers from Judith Black and Milbre Burch to Donald Davis, Gay Ducey, Margaret Read MacDonald, clear down the alphabet to Kathryn Windham and Diane Wolkstein for answers. A definite should-read for storytellers everywhere."
The Book Report
"Fifty-two storytellers share their advice, experiences, and techniques in this practical guide benefiting both novice and experienced storytellers. The easy-to-use format consists of sections with titles such as "Finding the Right Story," "Controlling Stage Fright," and "Marketing Yourself." Following a brief introductory paragraph on each topic, storytellers address these topics with brief anecdotal responses that are honest, often humorous, and motivational. A concise summary ends each section. A lengthy list of organizations and awards and an excellent storytelling bibliography (the vast majority with recent copyright dates) complete this all-in-one source for anyone who has considered storytelling. While this comprehensive resource covers the basics, such as getting started and learning stories, its real value lies in coverage of such topics as copyright, ethics, recording, censorship, and utilizing storytelling in the classroom and library. This well-designed, substantial resource will be used repeatedly by storytellers for support, gathering ideas, and inspiration from some of the best-known, articulate, and competent storytellers in the world."
School Library Journal
"The Storyteller's Guide
has something for everyone--lay person, media specialist, parent, storyteller, and anyone interested in enhancing their relationship with an audience. Each chapter is a self-contained unit, providing an overview of the subject, then specific advice from experienced storytellers. Readers can pick and choose from a wealth of topics, including getting started, frequently made mistakes, important performance techniques, marketing oneself, and censorship. The longest chapter, which should be read by every candidate for a teaching degree, discussed how teachers can use storytelling in the classroom. The advice is practical, non-judgmental, and easy to follow. It feels as if the "experts" were holding a conversation with each other and the reader. More than 50 well-known storytellers share their advice and experiences with the editors, and their resumes are included at the end of the book. Also included is a useful list of resources, including trade organizations and newsletters, and a "bookshelf" that lists books on storytelling and books of stories."
The West Virginia Hillbilly
"Ask a storyteller a question and you get a story," goes the saying. In the case of The Storyteller's Guide
, edited by Bill Mooney and David Holt, many questions about the art of tale telling are asked and answered, by more than 50 experienced speakers.
Mooney and Holt are well known in the storytelling field, with books, recordings, and live shows to their credit. Their book is not only interesting and easy to read, but contains a wealth of information about one of humanity's oldest forms of entertainment. They share ideas on story selection, technique, some of their best and worst performances, and even fees and copyrights.
Those interviewed recommend that tales chosen should have some substance, but not be "preachy" in tone. Humor is a great icebreaker; so are musical selections. Be yourself and find stories that you are comfortable with; know yourself and the audience. As Marni Gillard says, "Storytelling is our most human, natural form of self-expression."
Another suggestion is to look for story ideas in real life, even in your own family. "Many families," say the authors, "have stories that have been told for generations. These are often little gems, already worked up by your ancestors and ready for the telling."
"Prominent figures in the American storytelling revival answer basic questions about storytelling in this interview style entry in the how-to-tell genre. Each chapter is organized around a question--How do I find the right stories? What makes a story strong? How do I memorize and rehearse a story? How do I handle stage fright? etc.--and followed by the answers of individual storytellers like Connie Regan-Blake, Len Cabral, Donald Davis, Elizabeth Ellis, Diane Ferlatte, Beth Horner, Syd Lieberman, Bobby Norfolk, Jay O'Callahan, Gayle Ross, Jackie Torrence, Diane Wolkstein, and a multitude of others. Each chapter/question is introduced by editors Holt and Mooney, and followed by a short summary. In between, the two columns of print per page contain a tremendous amount of practical information...communicated in a humorous, conversational style. Storytelling issues as well as "how to" suggestions are covered in sections on copyright and fair use, storytelling ethics, recording audiotapes, and censorship. A short list of storytelling resources and a bibliography is included, along with notes on contributors."
"Bill Mooney and David Holt's Storyteller's Guide
provides interviews with over fifty storytellers, from librarians to authors, musicians, actors, and full-time pros. These provide insights on all aspects of the art of storytelling, from shaping stories to tailoring them for different audiences."
"David Holt and Bill Mooney have tried to fill a gaping hole in the storytelling profession with this book. They have succeeded admirably with this volume of sage advice from some of the best-known and best-traveled storytellers in the country.
The book targets the beginner as well as the journeyman/woman teller. If you have been making a living at being a storyteller for 15 years or so, you should know what's in here. Topics include storytelling in the classroom, copyright, marketing, creating your own stories, recording, ethics, life on the road, worst-case scenarios, etc.
Every guild in the country should have one of these books as a resource for its members. Every teller embarking on this strange quest we call "a storytelling career" should read it cover to cover. A welcome and overdue addition to the professional side of our art."
Here & There
"Over the year, we have all met the book titles assuring us that the contents would reveal "All You Ever Wanted to Know About _____!" The Storyteller's Guide
could conceivably lay claim to such a title! Bill Mooney and David Holt (authors/editors) have given us, through their interviews with fifty-three storytellers, an incredible range of topics and an incredible cast of storytellers who share their first-hand experiences and knowledge. The storytellers who were interviewed include teachers, librarians, actors, musicians, clergymen, and full-time professional storytellers whose names are readily familiar in the storytelling world. Our GSSL members will recognize many of them, as they were the keynoters/performers at the Trenton State College Children's Literature and Storytelling Conference during the 19 years that Dr. Eileen Burke and I cochaired that event.
The topics range from "How Do I Get Started?" to "What are the Copyright Laws Concerning Storytelling?" Both of these vital topics have been discussed in our league, but here is the definitive information/advice! In between these two topics other areas are addressed. They include stage fright, mistakes frequently made by beginning storytellers, performance techniques, memorizing and rehearsing the story, ethics of storytelling, marketing oneself, knowledge of censorship, recording, and marketing audios, creating original stories and MORE, much MORE!
In your anxiety to get to the particular topic you first want to "know all about," DON'T miss Bill Mooney's and David Holt's excellent introduction to each of the designated topics and the excellent General Introduction . And, of course, you won't want to miss "Storytelling Resources" and "The Storyteller's Bookshelf".
I recommend this book, without any reservation, to all practicing storytellers, professional and otherwise, and all people who are contemplating entry into the storytelling world. I also consider The Storyteller's Guide
as an invaluable reference for use in college/university storytelling courses or in noncollege storytelling study groups. I would further recommend it to two other constituencies, namely listeners and professional critics of storytelling. Both groups would gain valuable insight into the philosophy, the ethics, and the study and teaching of storytelling.
We are, indeed, indebted to Bill Mooney and David Holt, two premiere full-time professional storytellers, for providing us (through interviews) with such an array of readable, informative, essential, exciting (and in some cases, cautionary) advice and information as to the "How-To" of storytelling. I repeat, The Storyteller's Guide
is ESSENTIAL READING and an ESSENTIAL REFERENCE source."
"More writers should learn the value of performance work. Hearing your own words woven into the breath and heartbeat of a live reading, interacting with an audience, and watching words take on a life of their own are things you can't get in the solitary room with pen in hand. Dozens of storytellers share their advice in short vignettes. My favorite section is the one on mistakes."
Iowa Reading Journal
"Experienced and novice storytellers will want to add The Storyteller's Guide
to their libraries. Answers to frequently asked questions about storytelling define each chapter, e.g., "How Do I Get Started?" "How Do I Find the Right Stories?" "Once I Find a Story and Like It, How Do I Make It My Own?" "How Do I Shape Stories from Printed Texts?" "What Mistakes are Frequently Made by Beginning Storytellers?" and "What are the Copyright Laws Concerning Storytelling?" Resources for storytelling and recommended books for storytelling are also included in this guide."
The Second Story Review
"Learning from the experience of others is definitely the approach of The Storyteller's Guide
. Mooney and Holt interviewed over 50 tellers, posing often-asked questions, and then edited the interviews together. Using this book is like sharing a confab with some of America's best-known tellers. Some of the topics covered are the same as those in Geisler's book, but there is a different depth of information because it is being gleaned from a wide array of tellers. And although there are instances of very specific information being given (i.e. Bill Mooney's description of how he marketed himself in the early years, and how he does it now) the intent is not to take the reader step-by-step through working as a professional. It is, rather, to share advice on areas of interest common to tellers.
Six of the 20 chapters deal with stories: finding the right story, making it one's own, shaping oral tales from printed texts, creating original stories and stories from true-life events, what makes a story strong or weak.
From there the topics move on to the learning of stories, making a program flow, the role of the emcee, common mistakes made by the beginning teller, stage fright, and the ethics of telling. There is information on marketing, finding an agent, recording tapes, and a look at what the life of a professional teller is like--including worst performing experiences!
One chapter is devoted to copyright, another to censorship. There are chapters aimed specifically at the teacher/storyteller, and at the media specialist using storytelling in the library. One of the best things about this book is that in addition to providing advice from the pros, it also lets the reader get to know them a little as they share their experiences. Their personalities ring clear in their responses, giving people who may never meet them a chance to feel that there is a connection somehow.
Good reading, good advice, good idea. Whether you're just beginning or are a seasoned teller, The Storyteller's Guide
has something for you."
Voices of Youth Advocates
"The Storyteller's Guide
provides valuable advice from respected and professional storytellers, such as Jackie Torrence, Gayle Ross, Jay O'Callahan, Jon Spelman, and David Novak. All aspects of storytelling are discussed, from reading many stories and choosing one you like, to setting up a program; and from the physical location of your storytelling program to copyright issues. Each chapter offers information for the aspiring storyteller. The chapters are usable and practical, supplying a synopsis of the storytellers' advice, comments by each individual storyteller, and a bulleted list of storytelling suggestions. The focus of the book is on becoming a professional storyteller, but there are chapters for teachers and media specialists. Storytellers with a variety of backgrounds and experiences will find helpful pieces of information in this guide."