Voice to Text: Oral Storytelling Techniques for Writing Creative Nonfiction

with Corey Rosen

oral storytelling writing course

August 16, 2023 | 6 Weeks |


Text and Live Video

Speak your way into your stories.

Oral storytelling is the original literary art, and it can take us out of our heads and into the heart of our stories. In this course, we’ll learn to use the power of our own speech to create captivating written nonfiction stories.

Voice to Text is for writers of all writing levels and backgrounds, who are looking to develop or polish true personal stories. We’ll tap into the wealth of spoken storytelling techniques to do this—and convert these spoken stories into impactful written pieces for further polishing.

This course will help memoirists and other nonfiction writers clear the scary clutter of “Where should I start?” and start framing your own experiences and memories as stories. You’ll learn creative ideation: exploring where our stories come from, and finding new and interesting story ideas within our lives.

You’ll learn and work with different story structures, and try telling the same “story” through different lenses—using flashbacks, flash forwards, subplots, callbacks, and more. Understanding how structures can impact your stories will make you a better and more fluid storyteller, both oral and written.

Through this course, you’ll develop two complete written stories, and learn to apply different story structures and editing elements to make them funnier, more poignant, or otherwise stronger and more resonant regardless of their intended audience. You’ll get weekly homework assignments of reading, listening to stories, and prompts for developing your own stories week by week.

In addition to sharing your stories, you’ll receive feedback in a positive, supportive environment, with clear guidance to help shape your stories into final products. You’ll come away with two strong stories, and a toolkit of structures and editing techniques to concoct, shape, and polish great stories in the future.

This Course Is for You If:

  • You’re interested in crafting better stories.
  • You want to write a memoir.
  • You’ve got great stories to tell.
  • You feel stuck telling the same stories.
  • You need a nudge.

Learning and Writing Goals

Learning Goals:

In this class, you will:

  • Learn how to use the techniques of spoken storytelling to craft powerful written nonfiction pieces.
  • Develop your unique voice as a storyteller.
  • Learn to focus your stories on the elements that make them memorable, powerful, and emotional for audiences of all kinds.
  • Learn how to find the spine of your true stores.
  • Learn how to apply the SUCCESS principles to make your true stories sticky.
  • Learn to be present when telling a story and to play off of and audience’s reactions.

Writing Goals:

In this class, you will:

  • Develop and shape two true short stories from your life, while learning the skills to do the same for many more.
  • Find and share your personal voice in a supportive community space.
  • Discover new life in old stories.

Zoom Schedule

Zoom sessions will be held on Thursdays beginning August 17th from 7-9:00pm Eastern.

Weekly Syllabus

Week 1: Storytelling Building Blocks

  • Ideation/Brainstorming.  Where do ideas come from? .
  • Protocols Giving and Receiving Feedback
  • Story Sharing

Week 2: Storytelling Principles

  • What is a Story? What Makes Something a Storyworthy?
  • Simplified Story Structures
  • Adding Color/Detail/Emotion
  • Story Sharing

Week 3: Storytelling Structures

  • Linear Stories
  • Non-Linear Stories
  • Other Story Structures
  • Story Sharing

Week 4: Storytelling Practice

  • Making Stories Sticky
  • Memory Techniques for Storytellers
  • Story Sharing

Week 5: Storytelling in Performance

  • Preparing for Performance
  • Remembering Beats
  • Sticking the Landing
  • Vocal/Microphone Position
  • Story Sharing

Week 6: Student Storytelling Showcase (for Family and Friends)

Course type:

Student Feedback for Corey Rosen:

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About Corey Rosen

Corey Rosen is the author of “Your Story, Well Told: Creative Strategies to Develop and Perform Stories that Wow an Audience,” a laugh-out-loud, funny, practical and inspiring manual to develop true stories from concept through presentation.  He has hosted 105 live events for The Moth, The Moth StorySlam, and GrandSlams. Rosen has been featured on The Moth Radio Hour, “The Finch Files” and “20 Minutes with Bronwyn” podcasts. He is an on-air personality for Alice Radio’s “The Sarah and Vinnie Show,” the #1-rated morning show in the San Francisco area. A performer at BATS Improv, he is also a head writer at Tippett Studio. When not writing or performing, Corey works as a visual effects artist and executive producer. He is credited in movies including “Mission: Impossible,” several “Star Wars” films, and “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.” He has taught at NYU and Academy of Art University, written for Comedy Central, Jim Henson Productions, and Lucasfilm, and directed television commercials and Emmy award-winning short films.

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