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Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need Paperback – October 13, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"Those wishing to create engaging performance pieces from personal experiences will find this book useful."
"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
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.
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I offered my copy of the book to my girlfriend when she had to attend a company retreat and participate in a get-to-know-you exercise where everyone had to tell a two-minute story. We're talking about standing up and telling a personal anecdote in front of an audience of about fifty coworkers, managers, and direct-reports. Oh, and my girlfriend has social anxiety. So, needless to say... there was a good bit of hand-wringing and deliberation over this exercise.
Imagine how happy I was when she came back from the retreat glowing and excited to tell me about how well her story had gone. Not only did it feel good and comfortable to tell, but it also got a lot of positive feedback. Her coworkers really enjoyed it. She had directly applied many of the concepts explained so clearly and entertainingly in Long Story Short and hit the ball out of the park.
Buying Long Story Short is a favor you can do for yourself if you want to be better at storytelling. It might even burnish your reputation as a partner.
While most of the book wasn't useful to me, the writing tips that I DID glean -- like opening with something credible that connects with your reader/audience -- are tremendously valuable. They're things I wouldn't have thought of, myself, and I've never seen this kind of advice in writing books.
It's not a book for EVERY kind of writer. However, if you're writing "short reads" or short stories, and you need to grab (hook) your reader quickly, this book provides great insights.
In my professional role as a TV and Radio host both in the US and in Australia, I've used what Margot has taught me to propel my career forward and open up many new opportunities that weren't available to me before.
Get this book.
You won't regret it.
And yes she really, really loves game shows.