My Storytelling

I have been a storyteller for many years now and in my speech and drama teaching I was much involved with the promotion of storytelling. Before I was an author I was a storyteller and draw from this rich well in the creation of my own fiction. I am a member of the directory of professional Scottish storytellers. See www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk for everything to do with storytelling.

Storytelling and creative writing complement each other well. You can contact me to tell stories in school, or for an event. Because I lived by the sea, and because of my Magnus Fin novels, I have been busy telling sea stories. I also toured schools in Norway with a programme of stories entitled – Norway – Scotland – tales across the water. And more recently a similar international project – Lochs & Lakes, stories from Scotland and Finland. A wonderful thing about being immersed in the oral tradition of storytelling, as a writer, is that you learn on a deep level about story structure. The stories that survive the centuries and are passed down, as it is said ‘eye to eye, mouth to mouth and heart to heart,’ have sloughed off the bits that don’t work. What you are left with is pure story, lively characters, to the point dialogue and well-honed plots. I have learnt and am still learning the art and craft of writing fiction through the art and craft of storytelling.

In storytelling there is not such a strong division between stories for adults and stories for children – as there is, for instance, in bookshops. I believe that a good story transcends age and I aimed, in writing the Magnus Fin novels, to write on two levels – for children and at the same time, for adults. A lot of children struggle to read a book on their own – especially nowadays when there is so much quick gratification entertainment on offer – so it is a real gift to read a book to a child.

I work one day a week at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, supporting people wishing to become professional storytellers. See www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk

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