Last month, I attended a storytelling show, Fairy Tale Variations: Snow White. Five storytellers told their own versions of Snow White. Each story was unique and captivating. They made me see Snow White from different angles and perspectives. I was so inspired! After the event, I wrote 2 different versions based on one of my stories. Different chronological orders, different tones, different beats, different events. I edited them simultaneously because each of them had some values in it that I wanted to keep. In the end, I combined them into one piece, reorganized, and cleaned it up. I had so much fun with the process.

Cooking is art. So is storytelling. They are like drawing on white canvas. You can be as creative as you want — mix unexpected ingredients, change the order, try different temperatures. The creativity may bring a surprising result whether it’s good or bad. And even when it turns out to be bad, you still have a chance to fix it.

Cooking is art
Baking is science

On the other hand, creativity may not work so well for baking. When you change something, you already know what the result will look like. For example, if you bake a cake or cookies without baking powder, you know that the fluffiness, texture, and color will be different from a version with baking powder. Because baking is science, we can calculate how it will turn out. Sure, you can change the amount of sugar or switch some ingredients, but you need to follow the basic instruction. Otherwise, your bread or cake may not rise as expected. And guess what? Storytelling is also science when it comes to delivery. Think about it. If you use a different facial expression, body language, pace, pitch, or time to pause, you know that the audience’s reactions will be different. You can find scientific evidence for each item if you dig deeper.

That’s why storytelling is fascinating. It’s a combination of art and science. Perfect for somebody like me who has a Bachelor’s degree in Language Arts (Swahili language) and decades of programming experience. Every angle of storytelling intrigues me and makes me want to learn more.

Will I ever be able to write a perfect story and tell it perfectly? Probably not. I just can’t stop adjusting compositions and trying new recipes!

Storytelling is a combination of art and science

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