What kind of Storyteller are You?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how writers find their style; the way you tell a story that makes it unique. There are no original stories, at least until humanity evolves to the next level. Like, when we’re all transhuman conscious beings living in virtual reality worlds or whatnot, we may find different way of telling stories and there’ll be a new Aristotle’s Poetics. But until then, there’s just what we’ve got, and the only thing that makes it worthwhile is that we tell our stories our way, utalising our own unique experiences of the world. Yeah?

But, isn’t that part of our development as writers, trying to figure out just exactly what it is we want to say and how we want to say it? The following prompts are all things I’ve noted down that help, me at least, try and figure this whole thing out by noting what it is I have reactions too. What I love, what I hate, and what leaves me overwhelmingly meh. It’s less important, I think, to be concerned with what other people think, though that can be interesting. It’s a lot more important to figure out what you love and then to really analyse what it is you love about it. Then, you can have a clearer idea of what kind of stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them.

That’s the theory anyway. These prompts are things I’ve pondered over the years, and they’ve all helped me start to figure things out, so I hope they are of some use to you all!



  1. Top 10 stories (you can break these down into books, films and TV shows etc…)
  2. Why are they your favourites? Try to be as specific as you can (e.g. particular scenes, dialogue, characters, plot)
  3. 10 similarities your favourite stories have in common (e.g. genre, theme etc…)
  4. Least favourite stories?
  5. What do you dislike about them? Try to be as specific as you can
  6. 10 favourite scenes in stories (does not necessarily have to be from your favourite stories)
  7. Examine what you love about them. Pull the scenes apart and try to see how it is put together. How do the characters interact? How is the scene developed? Does this scene include elements that were set up in previous scenes and this is the ‘pay off’ scene?
  8. 10 stories you were disappointed with?
  9. Why? What were you expecting? How would you have done it? How does the story make you feel? How do your friends or other people view the story? Do they agree, or do they think it’s the most amazing thing ever?
  10. What genre do you hate?
  11. If you had to write in that genre, how would you do it?
  12. Top 10 stories that provoked the strongest reactions (love or hate, disgust or delight) within you, what those reactions were, why you think they provoked such a reaction and how you think they did it (these don’t have to be your favourite or least favourite stories)
  13. 10 guilty pleasures in storytelling?
  14. 10 reasons why you think they’re guilty pleasures
  15. Are there any stories you love despite the fact that you ‘know’ the story is bad?
  16. What is it about these ‘so bad they’re good’ stories you love? The plotting? An appetite for these kinds of stories?
  17. 10 stories that have made you cry. Why? What was it about the story that made you cry?
  18. 10 clichés you hate
  19. 10 clichés you are ambivalent about
  20. 10 clichés you love
  21. 10 favourite plots
  22. 10 least favourite plots
  23. 10 favourite characters
  24. 10 least favourite characters
  25. 10 things that put you off a story
  26. 10 things that attract you to a story
  27. Go watch/read 10 stories you would normally avoid
  28. 10 things you found unbelievably dreadful about them?
  29. 10 good things you found about them (a particular idea, scene, character)
  30. 10 ways you’d re-write those stories to be good
  31. See if you can find any interviews with the writers/film makers. Let them explain themselves. Can you see what they were trying to do? Do you appreciate what they were trying to do?
  32. 10 scenarios that get you excited in stories
  33. 10 stories you read/watch over and over again
  34. Why? What is it you love about them?
  35. What are you snobbish about when it comes to stories?
  36. 10 people whose storytelling skills you admire
  37. Why do you admire them? Is it that they write in a way you wish you could write? Do you have no desire to write like them, but you appreciate the way they tell their stories? Do you like everything they write, or do some things leave you cold?
  38. Back to your favourite stories. How well do you know them? How much have you broken them down, studied how they work, and put them back together? If they are a film or TV show, have you read books about them? Have you looked on YouTube for videos about them? Have you watched all the DVD extras? Have you sought out interviews with the writers, directors, actors to see what they had to say? If a book, short story etc… have you looked to find any author interviews? Does the author have a blog?
  39. Does the idea of studying your favourite stories seem…sacrilegious? Why? Do you fear it will ruin the magic? How will you feel about your own stories if you know how they are put together? Would you feel better studying stories you feel less attached to?
  40. What have you read and researched about storytelling in general? How many active author blogs do you follow? How often do you read about how other writers work?

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