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10 Oft-Overlooked Storytelling Methods

1-The Murder Mystery Party

Yesterday evening, as a post-Halloween event, my sister and I hosted a Murder Mystery dinner party. Along with 6 of our closest friends we dressed up, adopted daft accents, imagined and embellished the lives of our characters, and solved a murder mystery.

In essence it was an evening of storytelling, but it was storytelling in a form I had never before considered. We brought our characters to life, improvised, decided which information to reveal, and how to keep secrets. We became a living story.

(Have I piqued your interest? Find Murder Mystery Games here.)

This experience got me thinking about the nature of storytelling…

There is a long tradition of storytelling in all parts of the world, cave drawings, oral traditions, story writing of all kinds, dance, art, movies, YouTube videos and blogs. We are surrounded by story. Stories allow us to learn, understand the world, express ourselves and share in common experiences.

Storytelling is so ubiquitous that we often don’t fully pay attention to all the ways it can manifest itself. And so, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on storytelling and share some of my favourite, oft-overlooked, methods of storytelling



2-Sound and Light Shows

Mosaika: the story of Canada through sound and light.

Enough said?



3-Literary Maps

I only discovered literary maps quite recently, but I find them quite fascinating. These maps allow a reader to discover a country or a region through the books (often novels) that were written about it.

Here are 2 fun examples:

Epic Reads created a Teen Lit (or Young Adult/YA Lit) Map of the USA.



































Blogger Bibliomancienne created the Carte littéraire du Québec: a literary map of Québec classics and the cities in which they are set.



4-The Graphic Novel

Kids love comics: Archie, the X-Men, Tintin. And so, we tend to think as graphic novels being for kids, for teens, for non-readers. The truth the graphic novel genre has exploded over the years, with tons of contents for adults. Here are a few suggestions.

Watchmen by Alan Moore
Shezhen by Guy Delisle
The Paul Series by Michel Rabagliati
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Skim by Mariko Tamaki
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi



5-The Spoof

I find spoofs so interesting because they tell the story of a story. A successful spoof, a popular spoof, tells the story of societies impressions of a story. Two of my favourite spoofs…

The CBC podcast/radio show This is That


The Hillywood Show on Twilight



6-Choose Your Own Adventure

You may remember Choose Your Own Adventure stories from when you were a kid. In these stories readers make choices on behalf of the protagonist, and in so doing determine the outcome of the story.

To discover Choose Your Own Adventure stories for adults, keep reading.

To explore the Oral Tradition… Storytelling for Adults, skip to point 7.

Choose Your Own Adventure
Lost in Austen
by Emma Campbell Webster
You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero by Bob Powers
The adult/erotic fiction genre has a full array of Choose Your Own Adventure books, such as Beer, Women and Bad Decisions by Shawn Harris



7-The Oral Tradition… Storytelling for Adults

Storytelling for adults?! Yes, there is such a thing. My favourite example: Haunted Walks! Find out more about The Haunted Walk of Ottawa.

That’s just one example. Find a storytelling class near you to discover storytelling for yourself. Ottawa Storytellers and Storytelling Toronto are good places to start your search. Most big cities and some colleges and universities offer storytelling workshops.



8-The Book Trailer

I’m the kind of person who loves movie trailers just as much (if not more) than movies. As an avid book reader, imagine how I felt when I discovered the book trailer! A short film that captures the essence of a book in just a few minutes.




Anyone who has attended a conference, a training seminar, a workshop or even simply gone to school has been bored witless by more than a few lackluster Power Point presentations. Disappointing, considering how storytelling can be a powerful learning tool. Interestingly, companies such as Prezi are making presenting (and storytelling) much more dynamic and interesting.

Create your own Prezi today.




The Role Playing Game, the niche of gamers worldwide. You’ve heard of them: video games such as the Legend of Zelda and World of Warcraft, table-top games such as Dungeons and Dragons. RPGs are powerful storytelling tools. Players participate in the creation of the story, the outcome of the game. Though not a form of storytelling I have really explored thus far, after the murder mystery evening, I may have to give RPGs a try. Any game ideas for the uninitiated?


About Kayleigh Felice

I am a 20-something public librarian trying to find my footing as I start my career, take on new challenges, and enter adulthood (whatever that means). I live in Ontario, and I work for the Gatineau Municipal Library in Québec. Disclosure: The views expressed in this blog are solely my own, not those of my employer.


2 thoughts on “10 Oft-Overlooked Storytelling Methods

  1. Another literary map for those whose interest has been delighted by the idea… http://www.ruedeslibraires.com/articles/notre-tour-des-etats-unis-25372/ from Rue des libraires.

    Posted by Kayleigh Felice | November 10, 2012, 9:52 pm


  1. Pingback: Choose Your Own Adult Adventure « 20-Something Librarian - November 24, 2012

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