December 15, 2011

What Every Storyteller Wants To Hear...

Going through Neil Gaiman's and Al Sarrantonio's Stories (a compilation of fiction stories), I came across these very true (and straight to the point) words of Neil's, how the key to a good story was held in four words...

"And I didn't realise it until a couple of days ago, when someone wrote in to my blog:

     Dear Neil,

     If you could choose a quote--either by you or another author--to be inscribed on the wall of a public library children's area, what would it be?

     Thanks!
     Lynn

I pondered for a bit.  I'd said a lot about books and kids' reading over the years, and other people had said things pithier and wiser than I ever could.  And then it hit me, and this is what I wrote:

     I'm not sure I'd put a quote up, if it was me, and I had a library wall to deface.  I think I'd just remind people of the power of stories, of why they exist in the first place.  I'd put up the four words that anyone telling a story wants to hear.  The ones that show that it's working, and that pages will be turned:

     "...and then what happened?"

The four words that children ask, when you pause, telling them a story.  The four words you hear at the end of a chapter.  The four words, spoken or unspoken, that show you, as a storyteller, that people care."
Neil Gaiman, Stories, Foreward



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