Tips For Writing Your Story

Thinking about telling a story at Tenx9 Chicago? Check out our 10 tips for preparing your tale.

Before we dive in, we’d like to say thank you – your stories are what make Tenx9 events come to life. These events are for ordinary people to tell their own, real-life stories. We humbly offer you our story tellers’ tips for preparation, in the hope that they will be used and practiced.

We love to hear about other people’s lives. It somehow brings us all closer and gives us sometimes surprising  insight into our own personal universe. We go away and we chat about what we hear, the parts of a story that made us think, cry, or question ourselves.

That is what Tenx9 is all about. By way of a helpful guide, these are the sorts of stories that whilst inspiring and though-provoking in their own way, are not the kinds of stories Tenx9 events host:

  • Live editorials on a theme
  • Unstructured thoughts
  • Perspectives on a theme which don’t tell a story
  • Persuasive dialogues on political, ideological, religious or moral topics
  • Persuasive dialogues designed to get people to join a group or organisation

Now that we’ve cleared that up, on we go to our, we hope, useful tips!

  1. Please do make sure you are telling a true story. It can happen to any of us; one minute we think we’re telling a funny story, and then, we’ve embarked on a soul-searching dialogue about the virtues of unicorns. Or is that just us? Want to tell two true stories in ten minutes? You can try, but few can make that combo fly.
  2. You don’t have to write your story – you can tell it, sing it, dance it, but if you do ad-lib it’s a good idea to check yourself from time to time so you don’t ramble or lose your train of thought.
  3. Need help with some editing? You can always contact us and we will make suggestions for you. You’re very welcome to send us your piece at tenx9chicago(@)gmail(.)com
  4. Cut out theme or scene setting introductions. You don’t need to prep the audience. Just tell it like it is.
  5. If you want to name someone in your story, and you think this might embarrass them, go for a pseudonym. If you’ve got a whole host of characters and you want to help us remember who they are, you can always describe them further – are they a dancer, singer or poet? And last but not least, make sure you have permission to tell a story or use real names, especially if it involves controversial content – defamation unfortunately is still a thing if you say it, not just write it.
  6. A light touch is all you need. Don’t worry about telling every aspect of the story, or describing feelings and things in minute detail. Your listeners will automatically fill in some of the gaps, that’s what makes story telling so special.
  7. Grab hearts and minds with a great opening line. Your ten minutes start as soon as you take hold of the microphone.
  8. We will stop your story if the content is offensive, hateful, objectifying, or overly crude. Could you tell the story on public radio? That’s a good measuring stick to see if the story is okay for a Tenx9 event.
  9. A fabulous ending is a memorable ending.
  10. Ten minutes adds up to about 1400 words – around two and a bit pages. Bear that in mind if you can, as we have to be very strict about the ten minute rule and when that bell goes, that’s it! Your ten minutes start from the moment you get the microphone, so go for it.



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