Do you ever wish you could tell a story that leaves others spellbound? Moth storytelling champion Margot Leitman will show you how in this bestselling, practical guide to storytelling.
Using a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach, Margot Leitman breaks storytelling into concrete components. Whether you want to write a great wedding toast, deliver a compelling keynote speech, or simply entertain friends and family, comedian and Moth 5-time champion storyeller Margot Leitman provides a clear and engaging roadmap to telling your own personal stories in this approachable storytelling guide.
From content and structure to emotional impact and delivery, Leitman guides you through the entire storytelling process, providing personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and practical exercises along the way.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Getting Started Chapter 1. You Already Have Great Stories Chapter 2. Getting Past Fear Chapter 3. The Truth Chapter 4. The Universal Theme Chapter 5. The Thesis-Based Story
Part 2: Elements of a Story Chapter 6. Passion Chapter 7. Layering a Story Chapter 8. Perspective Chapter 9. Character Chapter 10. Rooting for the Storyteller Chapter 11. The Full Circle Chapter 12. Someone Else’s Story Chapter 13. The Unexpected Chapter 14. The Benign
Part 3: The Performance and Beyond Chapter 15. How to Memorize & Vocalize a Story Chapter 16. The Business of Storytelling
"This book is essential—a reminder that the world would be a better place if everyone knew how to tell a good story." —Diana Spechler, author and seven-time Moth StorySLAM winner
About the Author
Margot Leitman founded the storytelling program at Upright Citizens Brigade and is a five-time winner of The Moth and a winner of the Moth GrandSLAM, achieving the series' first ever score of a perfect ten. She has performed on Best Week Ever and Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and her stories have been featured on The Moth podcast, RISK!, and NPR's Good Food, and Unfictional. Her storytelling workshops at corporations, theaters, and comedy groups are popular on both coasts.
"Those wishing to create engaging performance pieces from personal experiences will find this book useful." —Library Journal
"When you watch Margot Leitman telling stories onstage, you find yourself laughing hysterically and somehow feeling less alone in a world where it seems everyone else got some kind of instruction manual. And now she's literally gone and given you an instruction manual. She's a former hypochondriac, obsessed with game shows, and a superfan of hair metal—and she'll make you realize your own qualifications and credentials in no time. In a world of experts, you've found an insightful book about storytelling from an actual human." —Dan Kennedy, host of The Moth storytelling podcast, and writer-performer
"Margot Leitman is a rare thing: she's a performer, a writer, and—in this book—the teacher you secretly have a crush on. Sharp as hell, Leitman teaches you how to tell your own story. Through sharing her process, telling personal stories, and giving practical exercises, she will give you the tools and confidence you need to share your story with the world." —Elna Baker, author and regular contributor to This American Life
"For our improv show ASSSSCAT the success of the performance hinges on how meaty the story is that the monologist gives us. Margot always delivers a nice thick cut of filet mignon." —Matt Besser, cofounder of Upright Citizens Brigade and author of The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual
"Margot Leitman and Michael Jordan are both naturally good at storytelling/basketball. But they're not content to coast on their natural abilities; they also work at their craft/dunks. But where they differ is that Michael Jordan has retired and Margot Leitman continues to hone her formidable skills on the word processor/court. Long Story Short shows her at the top of her game/game." —Rob Delaney, comedian and best-selling author
"Margot Leitman is not only an incredibly skilled and entertaining storyteller but also a gifted teacher. She is the person you most want next to you around a campfire, at a grungy bar, or cheering you on at your first PowerPoint presentation. In Long Story Short, Margot expertly guides readers through the ins and outs of a craft essential to all who seek to connect more deeply with the world around them." —Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
"Whether you know it or not, there are great stories inside of you, and Margot Leitman is the perfect person to help you find them and squeeze every drop of humor and emotion out of them when you do. Long story short, she rules. Buy this book." —DC Pierson, author of The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To "Margot Leitman is hilarious and vulnerable and real. In Long Story Short, she teaches us, with great candor and clarity, how storytelling works. This book is essential—a reminder that the world would be a better place if everyone knew how to tell a good story." —Diana Spechler, author and seven-time Moth StorySLAM winner