Exercise

■ Plan a storytelling session with a child.

■ Make a note of the way you want the story to end.

■ Jot down the obstacles or hurdles the character needs to overcome in the process of reaching the goal.

■ Note each of the steps the character has to take to get there.

7. Rehearse the Story

When you have a story outline, tell it to yourself, speak it out loud, and listen to how it sounds to you before testing it on someone else. Begin to experiment with it, play with it, develop it. Adapt the outline for different age levels, different genders, different cultural backgrounds, different types of interests . . . and then rehearse it again. The principle is simple: The more familiar you are with any material, the easier it is to be flexible, spontaneous, and adaptive in using that material in your healing metaphors.

Stories are never-ending, constantly altering and changing as you tell them from one child to the next. In fact, one of the difficulties for me in writing this book, as it was in writing 101 Healing Stories (Burns, 2001), is that the tales that make up Part Two are fixed in print, captured at one particular moment of their telling. In the oral tradition of storytelling, tales change and alter with their teller, with their listener, and with the circumstances in which they are related—even though they may be grounded in a core theme. By becoming familiar with your material, by knowing what the core idea is that you want to communicate, you are free to be flexible and adaptable in the telling.

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