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Co-creating stories


Disciplines > Storytelling > Telling stories > Co-creating stories

Telling together | Doing together | See also


Co-creating stories is both fun and powerful. It can be done just in the telling, but is often best also done in the enactment of the story.

Telling together

Creating a story together may be done with people of all ages, although it is particularly fun with children who lack the inhibitions of adults.

Driving the ship

The question of who is in charge may be asked, who controls the storyline. This can be a useful role, particularly with children, where the storyteller tells the main story and elicits fill-in detail.

And then the man went into the building. What do you think happened next?...That's right! He found the lost dog. What will he say to the dog?

The storyteller may also be more of a facilitator, for example asking particular people and getting everyone to join in. The result may be more of a leaderless story, and the facilitator may let this go or may test for and remind about coherence.

Leaderless stories

The ultimate leaderless position is to converse as as group without any apparent lead, letting the story 'tell itself' as one person triggers the next. This form may have less of an overall structure, although this may still arise. A good structure is only really needed for published stories. Such collective stories may ramble and wander at will -- the real goal is to engage the group in the multiple pleasure of storytelling.


In organizations, creating a story may be done as a part of visioning and planning, where 'what we want to happen' can be structured to include classic story elements, although these are not absolutely necessary.

Doing together

Stories can also be made through action as well as words. When we work and live together we are effectively enacting a story.

The overall plot

The plot of the enacted story may start with the goal to be achieved. The story then develops in the path taken towards the goal and the challenges, frustrations and successes along the way.

When people see their as a story and the action as a plot, they can feel more alive and the work more meaningful. It is one of the human joys to feel a part of something bigger than you.

Roles and relationships

Within teams, each person is allocated work or otherwise finds what suits them best. In the initial period there may be conflict about this, but an effective work group eventually settles down and gets on with the job.

Enduring and varying relationships may be formed, partly shaped through personality and partly through necessary co-working. It is often through shared experiences, particularly difficult ones, that powerful human bonds are formed.

Telling it afterwards

When the work is complete, a strong sense of closure on the task may be gained by telling the story of what happened together. In a form of wake, the project team may sit around and tell 'do you remember when' fragments that fit together in a jigsaw of the story memory.

See also

The Story Carousel, Theories about groups

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