Mouthy Youngers Session- Narrative

11 Dec

Hey World, it’s Ioney here after a long spell…

I was selected to be one of the Mouthy Youngers workshop facilitators and have taken two session so far. For my second session I was given the task of explaining ‘narrative’.

The dictionary gave me this definition of Narrative:

  • account, chronicle, history, description, record, report, story.
  • a spoken or written account of connected events; a story:
  •  the narrated part or parts of a literary work, as distinct from dialogue.
  • the practice or art of narration:traditions of oral narrative.
  • Narrative poetry is a form of poetry which tells a story, often making use of the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse

Being a documentary film maker i put on my film theoyy hat on  to briefly explain the various theories of ‘Narrative’ using  example Tzvetan  Todorov’s theroy (and others). His theory goes a bit like this:

  • The fictional environment begins with a state of equilibrium (everything is as it should be)
  • It then suffers some disruption (disequilibrium)
  • New equilibrium is produced at the end of the narrative

I also want to introduce another guy,  Valdimir Propp’s who though theorised that the same characters re appear in mos stories and I used Jack And The Bean Stalk as an example.

Character Type              Role within narrative

Hero              Leads the narrative, is usually looking for something     (a quest) or trying to solve something (a mystery). Does not have to be male

Villain              Gets in the protagonist’s way

Heroine              Is usually some sort of prize or reward for the hero. NB if your hero is female, your heroine can be male 🙂

Father              An authority figure who offers a reward to the hero for completing their quest. That reward might be a prince or a princess or a cool new job

Helper              Helps the hero – often acts as a sidekick

Donor              Gives the hero something – a clue, a talisman, a special power – which helps them complete their quest

Mentor              Teaches and guides the hero

Using these two theories  I  leaped at the chance for a bout of ‘Story Tennis’ to assist in getting the message of ‘narrative’ across to the young fresh minds.

Here is the exercise if anyone wants to try it out:

Each Mouthy Younger, Shadow and anyone else has a blank sheet of paper.

Each person write a response to the following:

  • Think of a character- this can be a person/animal/alien/object such as a pen, a plant, a planet anything.
  • Where are they? Describe the location/surrounding environment. Being specific as possible.
  • Describe their socio-economic status? Are they hungry/poor/wealthy/ oppressed/ a bully

Swap paper with some one, and the write answers to the following:

  • Then something happens to disrupt the main characters situation, explain what this is? They could go on some kind of journey – literally or metaphorically. The phone could ring and they have an angry conversation. A stone could be thrown through their window. A comment could land. Be as creative as possible.

Swap paper with some one else, it could e the same person or some one new.

  • The main character meets or finds some one or something  who gives them something, a tool/ a map/ a seed/a bottle of water/ some advice/ some thread. Describe who they are and what they give.  E.g an old wizard gives them a spell/ the character finds a map that leads them to a hidden tunnel/ they find a dandelion that has thousands of spare wishes.

Swap again

  • The character responds to this in some way, explain how they feel what they do. It has to involve lace- something is metaphorically described as lace e.g she span a lace web to cultivate ideas, he built a gate that looked like an iron lace veil to keep the bad people out, she got into a space ship made of lace…

Swap again

  • Develop what happens using love or revolution or both. The character could fall in love, he could remember how much he loved chocolate biscuits, her ideas gave birth to a revolution, her space ship took her to a planet called revolution…

Swap again for the last time

  • Resolve the story some way. Has the character has changed from the beginning, have they learnt any lessons? Have they become better off or worse off?

Here are three of the stories that the wonderful Mouhty Younger wrote yesterday….

Story Tennis 1

Bob hates animals, is terrified by ants and always wears orange clothing. He lives in terrifying woods and is  not afraid to say what he is thinking.

Bob’s mother comes round and attempts to tidy his house by washing some of his clothes. Unfortunately she throws a black tea towel in to the orange bundle which some what spoils his much loved outfits.

His mother gives him a new T-shirt which has magical powers. When he puts the t-shirt on he can instantly travel to anywhere he imagines.

To his surprise. Not only does the t-shirt travel it grants wishes. He ends up being a multi million air running his own lace company.

Because of that t-shirt the world had changes, many children where left alone, they had no one to look after them because the parent went to place in their imagination.

Seeing the damage the t-shirt had indirectly caused, he traveled back into time to prevent himself from ever gaining the t shirt.

Story tennis 2

The next door neighbor Jean never wears a coat, she has matted smelly hair and thinks her cat is Jesus.

She is currently coaxing him out of the garden tree because he’s ‘too precious to be that  high. Jean is surprisingly wealthy, but doesn’t use her wealth, only on cat food and collectible teaspoons. Her house is full of old books that she has inherited but never read. She has a extravagantly beautiful wardrobe but no idea how to put it together.

She goes mental and takes a shower in the rain outside with her cat Jesus. She then goes to someones house and asks for a towel called God.

The person looks at her in the eyes with a rather bemused expression and then hands her a hair dryer made of blue silk.

She turns on the hair dryer full blast and miles and miles of lace comes out.

Instantly she now knows her whole life has been wasted. She pulls out all her clothes from her wardrobe and customize them all with lace; lace collars, lace cuffs, the lot. Now happily in love with her career in lace customization she finally lets her Jesus cat play in the tree, but only because she has made a safety net of lace. because I have found an amazing job, I am free, I am normal I am Good, I feel like I can do anything and everything and so can cat Jesus.

Story Tennis Three

There was an extremely unhappy rubber with a slightly faded head and chipped away sides. It belongs in the draw of a failed, middle aged writer who spends most of his time procrastinating on his I Pad. The rubber is dissatisfied with his life, it hasn’t had a good rubbing in a very long time. It’s once best friend the sharpener is to be too blunt and is also in the draw.

A loud crash is heard from inside the draw. There’s a scuffle, the writer is being attacked. The rubber hears shouting and threats. Then silence. After 10 minutes the draw opens.

The rubber looks to the sharpener for comfort.  Knowing h has more bounce left in him, the sharpener hands the rubber his blade, even though it’s blunt, it would still snag through the shin of the attacker.

He throws the blade away and says ‘ it’s no use it  not going to do anything’ the blade lands in a lace spider webb.

The attacker stood in front of him, tall and aggressive. The rubber turned to the draw and called upon the revolutionary army of stationary. Leading from the front the rubber began to erase the thief from the left foot upwards.

With the attackers all erased out, the rubber and sharpener and all the other stationary were safe. The rubber had learnt how brave he was and had a new sense of purpose. He set up a rubber security visual anti, erasing all the crime out of the town.


As well as writing short stories i also got the Mouhty Youngers to write a contract poem, putting in writing what they will be contributing to Say Sum Thin 4- the next Mouthy Poets event taking place on the 15th and 16th Febuary 2013 at the Nottingham Plahouse (look out for more info, you can’t miss this show!)…anyway thats enough plugging in one blog here’s what you can expect from Cindy and Bambi…


My Contract…

I will turn up on time

I will try to spread the word- getting as many people as I know to come and watch.

I will hand out leaflets

I will work hard

I will have fun

I will participate

I will do extra things if needed

I will be as random and confident as possible

Signed Cindy Chapman



I agree to write the most incredible love poem ever heard, it will be original, exciting, maybe make people cry in the right places. And when I am finished people will touch their heart with their hands and ‘oohh and ahhh’ because it touched them strongly. It will not sound as if it should be in a Clinton card. I agree to have an amazing time  and bring lots of creative energy to the room.I agree to not make a giant wooden mirror that will collapse, In fact no DIY for me unless someone begs…then maybe. Signed Georgina Bambi Wilding.

Group poem from yesterday’ Mouhty Younger Session...

I want the audience to be happy, and smile like the sunshine, I want people to stand and cheer and be heard in corridors and probably Derby. I want to be a main feature like make up on a woman’s face. I want to greet people with poems. I will invite my Mum and Dad, but my sister isn’t aloud as she is embarrassing my brother can come he knows how to behave. I want singers, a bouncy castle with loads of party food millions of boxes of Dominoes pizza, marshmallows and chocolate dip, alphabetical spaghetti, a tiger costume with words printed on it spreading the word of Mouthy I will run through Nottingham.

I want the event to be remembered as a magnificent day- talent spotted and spread in local papers.


Ok, so that what we go t up to yesterday, I will be back shortly to give my account on the Arvon experience!





2 Responses to “Mouthy Youngers Session- Narrative”

  1. mouthypoets January 6, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Tennis story 2 is HILARIOUS and some how, also profound! Will we be hearing any of these at SST4?

    I LOVE THE CONTRACT writing exercise!!! Who created this exercise, can you please lead it in Mouthy olders?!?!?!?


  2. mouthypoets January 8, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    Haha this was awesome. Story tennis is brilliant!


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