Courses


No matter which course a student chooses to take, each student will be assessed for personal goals and skills. Our courses include both introductory and specialized training in various types of storytelling and are adjusted for the needs of the students in each class.

Intermediate courses take a deep dive into topics and provide individual coaching for the students. Workshops and training for businesses and organizations are keyed to their needs and designed to facilitate the use of story to meet their mission, value, brand and marketing goals.

If your group wishes to take any of these courses, contact us and we will set up a class tailored to your needs at a time and location of your convenience.

Email us at: americanschoolofstorytelling@gmail.com


Introduction to Storytelling

The fundamentals of storytelling: what is a story, how to craft it, and how to tell it. We begin by looking at both personal and traditional stories to learn genres and the narrative forms, then begin making decisions about the particular narrative form you want to use, beginnings/ endings, point of view, the emotional arc of a story, and then practice telling it.

Business & Oganizational Storytelling

Introduction to Storytelling for Business & Organizations

Whether you are just wanting to learn how to tell engaging stories to improve your sales/ marketing or fundraising “ask” or have been at it long enough to see where there is room for improvement, this is a hands-on exploration of what stories are and how to tell them confidently. In a business or organizational setting, we tell two kinds of stories – internal stories that build teamwork and community and external stories that build the brand and improve marketing/ sales/ mission support. This course will give you a sense of the roles and functions of each in a business and organizational setting.

These functions underline the American School of Storytelling’s business and organizational storytelling classes and individual coaching:

  • Storytelling crafts essential messages for internal and external use.
  • Storytelling makes you a better leader and content presenter.
  • Storytelling improves communication and organizational culture.
  • Storytelling training connects the business or organizational brand to the audience, makes emotional connections, increases sales.
  • Storytelling preserves history and institutional wisdom.
Creating a Storytelling Culture in Business & Organizations

Stories live in every business and organization. When they are acknowledged and given a structured place within the culture they can inspire leadership, build teams, share vision, articulate mission and values or heal wounds. When they are not acknowledged they appear as rumor and fear, dividing the community and preventing effective communication from taking place.  

Four kinds of stories – personal narratives, oral histories, metaphoric stories and community rituals – help define the culture of every community whether it be a business, organization or neighborhood. This  is a hands-on workshop designed to identify those essential storytelling forms in your community and improve communications/ leadership skills by consciously using stories to build a better, more responsive community.

Stories of the “Other”: Decoding Our Understanding of Race, Sex, and Class

This workshop is a chance to explore in a safe and respectful space, our personal experience of three contentious “isms” – race, sex and class – that are often unnamed. It invites an honest, perhaps even difficult, listening to each other even as we tell the stories of how we have experienced prejudice and injustice both in relation to our own selves and to our assumptions about others with a reflection on what we share and why it matters.

Personal Storytelling

How to Find Stories Everywhere

Inspiration may be everywhere but sometimes it’s hard to find. This three-session class will guide you through exercises and games to help you find stories everywhere. From looking at the everyday with new vision to interviewing inanimate objects to rethinking the tried and true, you will be inspired to find stories in the unexpected and new stories in the familiar. Expect to try new things, press on your learning edges, and come away with at least three new stories.

Difficult Stories Workshop

We have been offering this workshop periodically since 1998. Our award-winning and critically acclaimed book, “Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories” came out of our experience teaching this workshop which has been for many folks a transformational experience of how they think about and tell those stories that are hard to hear and difficult to share. We will examine what is a difficult story and what are the ways it can be told without damaging ourselves or our audience.

Traditional Storytelling

Reimaging Traditional Tales

There is power in the old stories to show us how to face difficulties and triumph. They can speak to our own time and circumstances. This workshop explores how to reimagine the traditional stories as illuminations of our own lives and meanings to make what is old, new again. Bring a story you want to work on and over the course of the three sessions explore what happens when you change the point of view, the time frame and even where it begins and ends.

Storytelling Craft

Plot: Getting from a Beginning to the End

How do you move beyond the standard narrative habit? This workshop taught by Loren Niemi, the author of The New Book of Plots will change how you shape stories. It is  an exercise focused process using ten elegant plot forms providing examples of their use, formulas for structuring and considerations of how they function and are shaped. Most importantly there are hands-on exercises in telling each plot form conducted both in small group and individual activities for shaping your chosen material.

Finding the Emotional Arc of Stories

Every story has an emotional arc. In fact every story has three – the arc of the characters in the story, the arc of the Narrator of the story and the arc of the audience receiving it. Each  hands-on session will examine one of those arcs in detail with individual and small group coaching exercises while you are crafting whatever story you bring to the workshop.

Great Beginnings and Endings

It is said that if you know where to begin and where to end, everything in between is a pathway.  How do we create vivid and engaging openings for our stories? And when we are done, how do we end our story in a way that satisfies the needs of the story and the audience? This three-session class will provide you with useful tools to create potent openings and well crafted finishes for stories, whether traditional or personal, old or new.

Summer Camp Ghost Stories

Who doesn’t like summer camp ghost stories? In the first session, the American School of Storytelling Founder, Loren Niemi will tell three types of ghost stories and examine what makes them work, In the second session  you should bring your favorite tale to share and learn how to tailor it to augment its “things that go bump in the night’ quality.

The Body in Stories

Between romantic cliché and the explicit, there is a seldom explored but much needed space for the sensual in oral and written stories. This hands-on workshop with three sessions focuses on both what is said and what is not, on how we manage expectation and intimacy within the story and with our audience, the power of metaphor and the permissions/ limitations of the senses in creating an emotionally and artfully depicted allure in traditional and personal stories. Bring a story – personal or traditional – that you want to work on.

The Value of  Improvisational Stories

Whether you are on a Slam stage or in a courtroom, improvisation is often seen as the riskiest form of storytelling, yet there are times when it is valuable and  gives the storyteller the ability to explore and relate a range of material with an audience in the moment. This is a workshop with proven techniques for developing your ability to find stories in the midst of unexpected challenge or sudden opportunity.