Storytelling for Parents of Children with disAbilities, Part One

Right now, storytelling is as hot an Alabama summer.  Why?  Storytelling, if done well, gets past all the noise in our minds cutting through our busy lives while touching our hearts and often, inspiring us to action.  As the parent of a daughter with special needs, I learned early on if I were to help Mikelle get needed resources, I had to learn how to tell her story.

Luckily, I met one of the foremost experts in storytelling, Viki King, the author of How to Write a Movie in 21 Days.  Here my story on how I met Viki.

It was a snowy spring day, a good day to stay home.  As I settled in, the phone rang; it was a fellow writer and self-publisher who was hosting an event on screenwriting that day at a hotel near Stapleton, Denver’s old airport location.  “Can you attend the workshop?” she asked.   “I need a few more people there…and lunch is free.”

 “I am writing a memoir, not a screenplay,” I said. and I thought to myself, who knows if that will ever get done.  Why do I need to go?

 “I just need to you come,” she replied, “as a favor to me.”

 “ Okay,” I said.  “I’ll be there.”

I left my warm, cozy home, wiped a thick layer of heavy, wet snow from the windshield of my vehicle, and headed for the event.  When I arrived, I entered the conference room, grabbed a mediocre cup of coffee and sat down at one of the numerous round tables circling the podium.

Then, a slender blonde woman walked in the room.  Her wild, free hair resembled a halo as the lights shone on her.  Little did I know that this was, for me, a life changing moment.

Viki King began to speak about screenwriting, and within minutes, I knew I had to meet her.  During the break, I casually asked her to join my table for lunch.   At the table, while I cut through an over-baked piece of chicken, she queried me about my writing project.   I told her one thing, she told me another.  Her insights were spot on.  and then I knew this was someone special that I had to get to know.

That conversation happened nearly a decade ago.  During the years, Viki helped me find the transformational power of storytelling.  Now, we want to share this power with you.

As individuals and families who have experience with special needs, you often have to tell your story over and over again to gain the support and resources you need.   Is your story powerful enough to get what you need?

Listen to our first segment with screenwriter, author and long-time Hollywood entertainment consultant Viki King.

Top 4 Storytelling Tips.

  1. Start with the basics: define your story in the simplest of terms.
  2. Find your flow.  Make sure everything in your story relates to or explains your main point.
  3. Add some spice! Oce you have your basics covered, add some minor details and descriptive words including the five major scenes.  This is your spice.
  4. Make sure your conclusion makes sense.  Does it fully convey your main point?  Does it relate well to the rest of your writing? Is it too abrupt?  Is it easy to understand? Does it touch the heart?