The Most Critical Point about Making Stories

Below is a series of practical steps that allow you to move from tableaux into stories.

  1. Remember that tableaux are merely stepping stones to stories. Tableaux exist for that reason.
  2. Build a tableau as usual using all the instructions and steps found in Book 1.
  3. While building any tableau, use your intuition by trying to become aware of any possible story lines (hooks) that may insert themselves into your mind during the building of the tableau.
  4. Listening to your intuition in this way sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.
  5. You don’t have to act on each intuitive idea. Just let them come and go during the creation of the tableau. If no ideas come, then obviously you won’t be doing a story that day. Bail out of the story attempt.
  6. When you bail out, say to your students, “Well, we’re not doing very well with this story attempt, so let’s drop it.”
  7. Most of the time your students will go along with the bail out – they don’t want to get involved with a boring story any more than you do.
  8. Bailing out is easy and sends the message to the class that the class as a whole and not just the teacher is responsible for the creation of a story.
  9. When you bail out, you are within your rights to just announce to the students in that class that they “lack imagination that day”. This trick of blaming the failure of the story on your students is not inaccurate.
  10. The result of bailing out by telling the class that it is partially their fault takes you deeper into community while it removes the pressure on you to be the only one responsible for making up the story.
  11. When you lovingly and in a humorous way blame your students for the failure of the story, you are merely speaking a truth. In this way, you can end once and for all the big fear that most CI teachers experience when trying to do stories that they “can’t do it”.
  12. To repeat the key point here, due to its importance: when going from QL4 into QL5, if the possibility of a story enters your mind, decide if you want to use it or not and then do it or bail out.
  13. You will find that each tableau that you make in each of your classes all year will either “speak” to you as you teach it or it won’t. You may hear internally: “This tableau sucks. I’m bailing. No story here!” OR you may hear, “Hey I wonder if the fact that the lemon is orange and the orange is yellow [information from the tableau) could be turned into a problem where both fruits want to be their “real” colors!”
  14. Re: point 13 above, find the complete list of Ultimate CI videos and watch the one about “Deux Fruits”. You will be able to see how random facts gathered in the making of that tableau propelled it into a story, albeit a simple one lacking any real development via dialogue and movement from one place to another.

Reflection questions:

  1. If the story works, fine. But do you see where it doesn’t have to and that bailing out of any tableau or any story at any time is a choice you have that can save you a lot of stress?
  2. Are you open to the idea of listening to your intuition and paying attention to any messages that may arise during the creation of the tableau to become a story?
  3. Are you open to the idea in your CI teaching of just letting things develop naturally, letting each new fact/bit of information determine where the story goes without getting nervous about it?
  4. Can you see that when you don’t have a story in your mind before you start the tableau, the stories almost always turn out much better? That’s because planning is a bad word in this kind of work – it dries things up before they begin!
  5. Will you be able to remember to do only extremely simple stories to begin with when you start stories in Level 1? Can you avoid taking your Level 1 and 2 students off into the weeds?
  6. Similarly, can you remember to avoid adding too much detail? You can add lots of rich details in upper-level Ultimate CI classrooms, but in levels 1 and 2 in Ultimate CI classrooms you must keep things simple.

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