September 12, 2016

The Storyteller

By Sharron Cosby

I had a slumber party when I was ten or eleven years old. For our bedtime entertainment, we gathered around my daddy on blankets and pillows in our darkened playroom. He wove his tale, drawing us in like a bass on a hook. All of a sudden he yelled, “Boo!” Girls were screaming and crying and pulling blankets over their heads. Daddy smiled and said, “Gotcha.”

Years later at his funeral, one of those girls reminded me of the slumber party and the scary story Daddy told, one she would never forget. He was a master at surprise endings.

Storytelling encompasses basic elements that, when artfully crafted, take the reader on a journey to unexplored lands, universes, or perhaps deep within themselves. Listed here are the core components of a story:

·       Plot or main story. What’s happening?
·       Characters. The characters bring the plot to life through their words, actions, thoughts.
·       Conflict. The driving force of the story.
·       Setting. Where does the story take place? How does it impact the characters? The story?
·       Resolution. The big red bow that ties the loose ends together.

Writers are storytellers. Some are better at it than others. Their words flow effortlessly across a page. Descriptions, dialogue, and pacing are second nature to these gifted ones. Complex story lines create page-turning books that fly off bookstore shelves. For others, that’s not the case; it’s a challenge.

If you fall into the second category, as I do, there’s hope for us. Resources abound to provide the how to’s of story, to hone our craft. Writer’s conferences are available at varying costs throughout the nation and it’s at conferences where we gain invaluable information and make invaluable contacts. We meet other writers who share our struggles with point of view, pacing, or dialogue. During a meal or late-night gab session, we talk through problems and come away with tips to jump the hurdles. We meet editors, publishers and agents who can, and do, provide methods for improving our stories.

Conferences may not fit the family budget, but there are many books on the craft of storytelling that do. Avail yourself of the wisdom and knowledge of great writers and teachers such as Cec Murphy, Robert Benson, and Steven James. These men share their years of experience of fine-tuning their God-given abilities with other writers through their books and speaking engagements. I met all three at writer’s conferences.

Whether you’re a natural storyteller or one who struggles, the key is to tell your story. Stories matter. Stories change lives…and that’s what matters.
An Alabama transplant to Florida, Sharron Cosby stays true to her southern roots with a “Hey, y’all and Roll Tide Roll.” Encouraging mothers who feel hopeless is an honor Sharron doesn’t take lightly. She understands those feelings and is quick to give a hug and encouraging word. Although her writings and presentations focus on addiction and the hope of recovery, she’s quick to add she can talk about something else. Her 90-day devotional, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90 is a source of hope for hopeless families. Sharron has been married to her forever boyfriend for over forty years. They have three children and six grandchildren. During the hard years of her son’s addiction, Sharron often longed for a cave in which to hide. Dan and Sharron recently purchased a “cave on wheels” and plan to explore the country one campground at a time. She is available to speak at retreats, conferences, civic groups, and businesses and can be contacted at Follow Sharron on, Facebook: and Twitter at @SharronCosby.

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