On the RISK! podcast, we periodically feature super short stories we simply call “anecdotes.” These are mini-stories that typically feature a single event, run 3–4 minutes, and to which we will add music or other sound design. While the stakes in these anecdotes may feel a bit different than a typical RISK! story, the stories should still be just as engaging— hilarious, heartfelt, shocking, etc.
Here are two examples:
Unlike other RISK! stories which come together through workshopping with one of our story coaches, anecdotes usually come to us as fully formed little stories, already recorded and ready for us to simply edit and add sound design.
Those two examples Kevin mentioned:
“Elf on the Mother F’n Shelf” by Vin Brue and “White Light” by J Carpenter.
Many more examples can be found here: RISK! Stories with Keyword “Anecdote”.
How to (and how not to!) tell an Anecdote
- Aim for 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re running long, it’s better to trim content than just speak faster. If your story simply must go longer than 4 minutes, that’s okay. But we may ask for a shorter revision after you submit a first draft.
- Don’t read your story. And don’t overly memorize it to the point where it sounds like you’re reading it. Just speak naturally, like you’re telling it to a friend. Your delivery should sound conversational, not literary.
- Check out Kevin’s little Quick Tips! videos, covering show-don’t-tell, emotions, dialogue, and characterization in stories. These videos and more can be found at Storytelling Resources.
How to Submit your Anecdote
- Learn how to make a quality recording. Everything you need to know about making a great recording on your own can be found here: Recording Yourself. If you send us a great little story that was poorly recorded, we can’t use it and will ask you to re-record it! Unsure if your quality is good enough? Send us a test first!
- Record your story: Start your audio (not video!) recorder. Let the recording roll for 5+ seconds before and after you speak. Feel free to retake parts you may have stumbled through. Maybe even tell your short story through twice! All the while, keep the recording going, and don’t crop or make any edits yourself. More details here: Recording your story.
- Rename your file to include your own name, so we know who it’s from.
- Email your file to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include:
• your name (as well as a stage name or pseudonym, if you prefer)
• a phone number where we can reach you by text
• a title for your story (optional)
• any ideas you may have for music that might accompany or follow your story (also optional)
Send In Your Anecdotes for These Upcoming Themes!
We just love to get recordings of your anecdotes! Below are some themes we’re especially on the lookout for:
Money Changes Everything
Relationships affected by money, personal values challenged by money, missteps made on account of money. Or maybe money used in a way that brings about something wonderful.
A brush with a cult, whether scary or amusing. Maybe just an encounter with members, or maybe you almost got sucked in to one?
Romantic dates, even if they weren’t planned… or job interviews… or auditions… or even meeting up with someone who is now a completely different person because you last saw them 20 years ago.
Rites of Passage
You’re old enough to _______ for the first time. Or you thought, “Oh this is what people meant when they said, after you ________, you’ll see things differently.” Any time in life where you felt like you’d made it through a landmark sort of milestone.
Could be your junior high, the university you work at, that dog training class you took with the chihuahua.
Spiritual illumination, Ah-ha! moments, creative disruption, figuring out how to do what you’d wanted to do forever, succeeding despite the odds.