ABOUT THIS PROMPT: The prompts below are from Joe Lambert’s book, Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, with some modifications to adapt them to a handout. Lambert is a founder of the Center for Digital Storytelling and author of the Digital Storytelling Cookbook (PDF), which serves as a guide to creating your own digital stories.
For more prompts, view other posts in the same category of RESOURCES: Storytelling Prompts
PERMISSION TO CREATE FREELY
Tell a story about a time when you were given permission to express yourself through your own creativity. Bring us to the moment of awareness that you felt supported to fully explore your creative voice.
Write a story about a creative process gone wrong: a meal, a hobby or craft project, a community campaign, an event or production.
Try to take us to the moment of realization that things didn’t quite turn out as planned.
DARKNESS BEFORE THE LIGHT
Every one of us has a moment before the big change – a low before the high, a setback before an accomplishment, a loneliness before the connection, a bad day at work before the perfect vacation.
Thinking back on one of the developmental shifts in your life, share a story about a moment of darkness before the light.
In our lives, there are moments, decisive moments, when the direction of our lives was pointed in a given direction, and because of the events of this moment, we are going in another direction. Poet Robert Frost shared this concept simply as The Road Not Taken. The date of a major achievement, the time there was a particularly bad setback, meeting a special person, the birth of a child, the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one are all examples of these fork-in-the-road experiences. Right now, at this second, write about a decisive moment in your life.
There are images we take from childhood, snapshots of ourselves as a fully formed character. Sometimes, even at the smallest age, we knew we were destined to be ourselves. Share a story of the child you were, and where that child still resides in who you have become
We all have stories about the surprises of our bodies, tests where our body has somehow survived…times when our bodies disappointed.
Endurance, frailty, strength, limits, beauty, shame – these are all words we associate with stories we tell about our bodies. Share a moment when your body taught you a lesson.
All of us have scars – small ones from the scrapes along the road, large ones from the major bumps and spills. Some we can wear as badges of survival, some are not visible and are beneath our skin, beneath the surface, but have left their mark all the same. Share a story about a scar.
TURNING POINTS WITH FICTION
The Fictive in literature, poetry, film, and theater are stories that present a reality that could have been, and a truth that is often more clarifying that the the real events. We are often changed by the fictional stories we have experienced.
Tell a story about the moment a fictional narrative – book, movie, theater, etc. – changed you.
In our lives, we see moments where our old stories inform our new ones; a childhood fascination with snails, our love of baseball heroes, or our getting lost in academia in college become the way we come back to nature with our children, become the way we make sense of our need for heroes, become our renewed appreciation of the joy of discovery through hard messy learning.
Tell a story about re-discovering an earlier enthusiasm. It could be a old favorite subject or topic, a childhood hobby, a place of adventure.
Choose a time in your life of emotional upheaval and change. Write about an event at that time that reflected the inverse of the feelings of loss, confusion, or despair; where you observed something, heard something, read something, or did something that provided a glimpse of contrasting light against the darkness. Take us into this moment of possibility.
HEEDING THE UNEXPECTED CALL
We all have moments when we have been called from our ordinary existence to wander into the lower world and explore the depths. Share a story of your call, where it took you, and what you learned.
RETURN FROM THE UNDERWORLD
Implicit in the return from the underworld is a sense of self that is capable of new insight. Sometimes that is a sense of understanding that which was not possible before. Share a story of a moment when you brought the boon of forgiveness back to share with someone in the world.