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Kirk Bowe November 15th, 2013

THE ETHOS OF JRR TOLKIEN’S STORYTELLING

Storytelling, in person, is a conscious act by those gifted to do it, engaging others around them. It’s not a one-way train, but rather a relationship between the storyteller and the listener. Even though only one person may be doing most of the talking, it’s interactive, with the storyteller modifying the ebb and flow of the narrative as he or she studies the faces and reactions of those listening. Skilled storytellers have a dynamic way with words, and the reader is a key participant. Real storytellers cannot hide behind a typewriter or a word processor. For their full story to be told in its deepest colours, they must have that relationship with the reader. Imagine J.R.R. Tolkien, having put out the last coals on the hearth on a wintry evening, sitting up close with his excited sons as he told them – as he did – the early forms of the tales that would go on to become part his Middle-earth cycle. The sleepy children are engaged with the story, hanging off every word, questioning every turn, and sending their father off on tangents he had not prepared. This is storytelling at is best, at its most personal, and, indeed, at its most truthful. We can’t bring Professor Tolkien into every child’s room. But we can provide storytellers with the means to expand their stories beyond words themselves, to give new digital readers the opportunity to explore great stories using the technology they keep close to them throughout the day. This is why we’re developing the Beyond The Story publishing platform, to capture stories as they come to life, to bring the new reader closer to the context and colour of the story.