I’ve had the pleasure to be invited to speak at Matt Locke’s forthcoming event, The Story, happening in mid-February in London. The remit is wide, so my options are extensive; all Matt has asked for is to,

come along and talk for 20mins about storytelling…about the visceral pleasure of storytelling rather than theory.

And so I’m rattling around in my brain (and feeling the remarkable pleasure of the cavernous and fertile space up there that was revealed after I removed the PhD-sized dust bunny that had been cluttering up the place for five years), rooting around for a few good tales.

I have several options.

First, I could tell a story, like Cory is penned to do. But I don’t have near enough faith in my Garrison Kiellor impression to generate something that will dangle a carrot at the beginning, will captivate people in the middle, and will satisfyingly end approximately 20 minutes later. So I won’t do that.

Second, I could talk about some of the remarkable trans-media story telling projects I have known, like Masquerade or La Chouette D’Or (books-with-clues), The Abominable Snowman (the first of the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which holds a special place on my bookshelf), A Million Penguins (a collaborative storytelling project via wiki, curated by Jeremy at Penguin), Rider Spoke (a bike tour of Brighton and London punctuated by personal stories from other participants, from the Brighton-based art collective, Blast Theory), or even Lost Experience (the Alternate Reality Game created by ABC and Hi-ReS! which, although perhaps not a huge success, extended the mythology of the Lost TV series across many diverse media). Or indeed, anything by Jane McGonigal, the doyenne of the ARG-genre. But this conference is about recounting the personal experience of telling a story, what it’s like to tell a tale. So while I might invoke some of these excellent projects, I won’t focus on them.

Third, I could talk about the process we explored in the pre-production period of Digital Revolution (working title) – co-creating a story for television with a potential Internet participant-audience of hundreds of thousands – and what realities the production is faced with when the output must ultimately be a single authored narrative. Now this could have legs. It fits the bill: it tells a story about a personal experience of telling a story. Given that the telling to date has been so fragmented – with blog posts and video diaries, tweets, photos, interviews, the visions of four directors, pieces to camera, general views (those bits where I’m just walking, sitting or playing with my laptop), edits, edit scripts, re-shoots, re-imaginings and so on – and the first episode’s not even aired yet, I could talk about what it’s like to tell a non-linear tale in a fiercely linear world.

Fourth, I could get the audience to tell its own story. But given the largesse of the audience (300 people), the little experiment i had planned might be better suited for an addendum in the conference newspaper.

Fifth, I could get them to contribute to one that I’m documenting. But I think coordinating 300 people to spell out a single word may be a challenge. I might do something else with that idea at the event instead.

So many storytelling options and so many ideas, but only 20 minutes. Of the options above, what would you most like to see?

Check out the list of speakers and their inspiring projects. Currently getting lost in serious brain nourishment from the things that the many people who are in the line-up have created, like the Twitter-based game Echo Bazaar. I’m also hoping to fill my social diary with events like the UK tour of A Small Town Anywhere, a Brighton-based True Stories Told Live. And then I might find some time to watch some Mythbusters-style Science of Scams. Awesomeness.