Tag Archives: Story


A few days ago, one of our followers requested tips on storytelling, especially how to narrate a story in a way that the readers/audience will understand.

Bear in mind that storytelling is not only useful on writings; even audio and visual messages need a good storytelling. Whether you are telling a story verbally or via visual cues, a good storytelling skill is necessary.

Take TV or YouTube ads, for example. Even if they are told via audio-visual, most of them have good storyline. This is especially important to send a message to the audience that the products the ads are trying to sell are worthy.

If you are wondering where to start, think of a storytelling as another way of reporting something but add some emotions to it to make it more relatable to the audience. Therefore, you first need to figure out what you are trying to tell. What is it that you want other people to know? Define this first as the main idea of your story.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

From the main idea, develop the story with 4 Ps:
People: characters of the story
Place: the time and location of the story
Plot: how the story starts and ends
Purpose: what is the reason behind the storytelling

Let’s take for example the Harry Potter franchise. We have Harry as the protagonist and Voldemort as the antagonist and the others as supporting characters. They are the ‘people’ of the Harry Potter story.

The time and the location of the story are England and Scotland in the 90s, which means the story should present how England and Scotland looked like at that time. Of course, there are Hogwarts and the wizarding world as a fictional element to this story, which were created based on the author’s imagination.

And then there is plot, which begins with the murder of Harry’s parents. The story then tells Harry’s journey to defeat Voldemort and ends with Voldemort’s destruction. Along the way, there are major and minor subplots to keep the readers interested.

The last one is purpose. What is the purpose of the telling of Harry Potter story? Is it good against evil? Is it portraying the reality at the time? Is it for entertainment? Is it trying to send a message?

Once you have the general idea of the story, begin creating the structure by deciding the parts of the story that are important. How we meet the main character, how the other characters are introduced, and what happens to them.

You can use linear plot, which is a plot where events happen in chronological order. However, if you feel confident, you can try using non-linear plot. It will keep the readers/audience curious to figure out the exact timeline of the story.

Now, how do we make a storytelling effective?

1. Keep it simple
It’s good to give enough details to the story, but sometimes the less is the better, especially if there is a constraint on time and resources.

2. Keep it focused
An elaborated story is good as long as it does not stray from the purpose of the storytelling. Back to the Harry Potter example, we are all invested in how Harry will finally win the war against Voldemort, so Uncle Vernon’s family tree won’t really be necessary. Not only it does not add much to the storyline, it could also be distracting.

3. Be relatable
A great story appeals to our emotions: we care about what happens to the characters because we see parts of ourselves in them. We struggle with Harry when he is living with the Dursleys, we can understand how Ron is sometimes jealous of Harry, we are annoyed by Draco Malfoy, and some of us agree with Hermione in her bossiest, nosiest moments.

4. Use concise language
Concise means delivering a message clearly and briefly, only in a few words. Some of the ways to achieve this are reading a lot, expanding your vocabulary, and doing a lot of practice.

I hope you find this article helpful. Feel free to add your most favourite way of telling a story.

P.S.: mine is using a non-linear plot, jumping from one event to another, and preparing a plot twist or even a vague ending.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 9 November 2020.

#EngKnowledge: Fanfiction
#EngTalk: Your Learning Method
#EngTips: Academic IELTS Writing Tips
#EngTips: How to Avoid Monotony in Writing
#EngTips: Tips on Writing Essay

#EngGame: The eve of Patty’s wedding day

Who’s up to help complete a short story? Rearrange these jumbled letters and form a words to go with the story.

Once upon a time, in a field full of [1. TRANRAFG] flowers, there were three tents built under the cool moonlight. People hustled to prepare for a celebration. Everybody [2. LOUIZANYX] awaited for tomorrow. Tables were [3. DEEDCAROT], chairs tied with sashes, and pretty chandeliers hung above the dance floor.

“Poxy Panda, though you look great in the tail coat tuxedo, the party isn’t until tomorrow [4. NEENVIG].” said Richie Rat. “I’m well aware of that, Richie Rat. I just can’t wait [5. TONHEAR] minute to show the long tail I have behind me.” said Poxy Panda.

Minzy & Pinzy swoosh by twirling around in an [6. KRAWDAW] waltz. “Richie, Poxy, do make way. We’re practicing for tomorrow.”

“I’m so [7. TIXCEED] I think I will start hopping even in my dream.” said Billie Bunny.

By the [8. CANTREEN], Popo Penguin tied the last pull for the wedding bell hung under an arch of lilies and roses. “That’s just [9. TCREEFP], Popo Penguin.” said Matcha Fish. “Now we’re all ready for the wedding.”

Looking [10. UDRONA] in the tent, Popo Penguin couldn’t find Patty Owl. “Where is the bride-to-be, Matcha Fish?” “She’s gone to her room to tuck away the hand [11. OUTUBQE] before Brown Bear ruin it.” answered Richie Rat. “Good idea.” said Pinky Octopus. “I’ll catch up with Patty Owl right after I [12. ACHSTN] that martini glass from our groom-to-be.”

“He wouldn’t [13. PARTPIEACE] a headache in the morning.” said Popo Penguin, tapping his feet.  “Come now, Raymond. You’ll be the best groom for Patty Owl.” [14. USREADS] Matcha Fish. “And your bride shall be the happiest girl to have you.” continue Poxy Panda, [15. YAPLING] with his new tail.

After everybody had cleared the decorated tent, Patty Owl [16. TREENDUR] one last time and think, “I can’t believe I’m really getting marriedtomorrow.” With the happy [17. HGOTHUT], Patty Owl slept with a wide grin.

Rearrange the jumbled letters and complete the story.


  1. Fragrant;
  2. Anxiously;
  3. Decorated;
  4. Evening;
  5. Another;
  6. Awkward;
  7. Excited;
  8. Entrance;
  9. Perfect;
  10. Around;
  11. Bouquet;
  12. Snatch;
  13. Appreciate;
  14. Assured;
  15. Playing;
  16. Returned;
  17. Thought.

Check out the answers, fellas. I’m sure it was quite an easy #EngGame, wasn’t it? :D

Unbeknown to you, fellas, part of the short story is true… A day after this article was posted, one of our admin walked down the aisle.


Though not all admins can come to the wedding, we all wish Patty & Raymond a blissful wedding, a loving family and a blessed union. XOXO

Compiled and written by @Miss_Qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, March 21, 2014

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#Folktale and #EngQuiz: Why cats bury their poo

In this article, we will share an interesting Indonesian #folktale in English.

Why #folktale? Because Indonesia is rich in local folktales and we think it’s good to share some of them to you all. While reading and knowing more about Indonesian folktales, you can also learn English at the same time. Isn’t that fun? :)

All folktales are taken from @Story4Children‘s site http://www.learn-english-through-stories.com/ (visit to see more). Or find them on our site.

The #folktale we will share this is about… drum roll cats! Do you like cats, fellas? Do you know cats bury their poo? Do you know why they do this? Well, you’ll know why soon after you read this #folktale. This story is from Lampung, Sumatera. Is anybody from or living in Lampung?

Why cats bury their poo

Once upon a time, animals could talk to one another. They talked just like humans. They lived peacefully in the jungle.

They had a king, and it was the cat. All animals chose the cat as their king because he had all the knowledge and the skills.

He was the wisest and the cleverest animal in the jungle. He was also generous and kind. Other animals became his students.

One of the cat’s students was the tiger. He was the most obedient student. He did whatever the cat asked him to do.

One day, the tiger wanted to master all the cat’s skills. He asked the cat to teach one skill that he didn’t have. What is it?

“Master, you are good at climbing trees. You haven’t taught me and I want to have that skill,” said the tiger to the cat.”

The cat did not believe in the tiger. He was afraid that the tiger would be a super animal if he mastered this skill.

“You have to wait. You are not ready to study how to climb the tree. Let me teach you how to sneak instead,” said the cat.

In a very short time, the tiger mastered the skill. This was actually the cat’s trick. He prolonged the tiger’s request.

“Teach me how to climb a tree,” said the tiger. “Wait, you haven’t mastered the skill how to swim,” answered the cat.

The cat hoped that the tiger could not swim, but he was wrong. The tiger was a great animal. He could swim in just a minute.

When the tiger became very tired, he felt his teacher did not want to teach him how to climb trees. He became very angry.

“Master, I’m your best and most obedient student. But why don’t you teach me how to climb trees?” begged the tiger.

The cat knew he had to tell the truth. “My student, I have a reason. I am afraid you will use the skill to do something bad.”

“What?!” the tiger burst into anger. “Teach me now! Otherwise I will kill you!” He attacked the cat. The fight was inevitable.

The tiger was bigger and had more strengths than the cat. The cat was cornered and had no other choice but to save himself.

The cat ran away. When he found a big tree, he climbed it. The tiger did not know how to climb, so he waited under the tree.

The tiger screamed, “Wherever you go, I will chase you. And not only that! When you defecate, I will eat your feces!”

Why would he do that? Because the tiger once heard that the cat’s power was in his feces. A little bit strang, isn’t it?

Well, however strange the #folktale might be, this happens until now. That’s why if cats defecate, they bury their feces with sand/soil.

Back to my question earlier: why do cats bury their poo? Well, according to the #folktale: they are afraid tigers will eat their feces!


Answer the questions based on the story above:

  1. Still remember “degrees of comparison”?(read: #EngClass: Degrees of comparison) Can you mention 3 superlative adjectives in the #folktale?
  2. “The fight was inevitable.” What does “inevitable” mean?
  3. Still remember “quoted/direct speech”? (read:  #EngClass: Quoted speech (Direct speech)) Can you count how many sentences use this?
  4. “When you defecate, I will eat your feces!” What does “defecate” mean?
  5. If both the cat and the tiger had the same chance to become a king, who would make the best king, and why?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Monday, July 16, 2012

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#Folktale and #EngQuiz: The legend of Surabaya

This #folktale article is brought to you by @EnglishTips4U and @Story4Children. All stories are taken from @Story4Children‘s website.

Before we start the #folktale, may I ask you a question, fellas? Does anyone here come from Surabaya? Do you know the symbol of the city?


Correct, fellas. The symbol of Surabaya is shark and crocodile (see photo). Do you know the story behind it?The statue depicts the fight between a shark and a crocodile. There are some versions of the story, and this one is one of them.

The legend of Surabaya

Long time ago, all animals could talk to each other. Some lived in the jungle, some in sea, and some others in the river.

There was a crocodile who lived in a river. He had not been eating for days. There was no fish in the river because of dry season.

The river was dry and he was starving. He planned to leave the river and head into the sea to catch some fish. So there he went…

It was a one hot day. The crocodile arrived at the sea and started to swim. He was happy because there was plenty of fish.

When he ate the fish, a shark saw him. The shark did not like what he saw and asked the crocodile, “Hey, what are you doing here?”

“Eating some fish. Why?” answered the crocodile. “You don’t belong here! This is my place! Go!” the shark raised his voice.

“Eating some fish. Why?” answered the crocodile. “You don’t belong here! This is my place! Go!” the shark raised his voice.

“Oh, you think so? I don’t care. I’m hungry. I’m not gonna leave this place until I’m full!” the crocodile did not seem to care.

“Well, if you don’t leave, then I will have to attack you,” said the shark. “Attack me? I’m not scared,” the crocodile replied.

Then it happened.. The thing that we all might have guessed and thought it would happen. The shark and crocodile started a fight.

The shark got so furious. He bit the crocodile’s tail, but the crocodile could avoid the attack. He hit the shark back instead.

The shark and the crocodile were equally strong. The fight lasted for days and there was no sign that it would end.

Because it was so intense, the fight had finally caught people’s attention. They were amazed by the power of these two animals.

People talked about the news and it spread very fast. Many people came to see this fight between a shark and a crocodile.

This fight was where Surabaya got its name. Surabaya is taken from the words “Sura” (shark) and “Baya” (crocodile).

This fight was where Surabaya got its name. Surabaya is taken from the words “Sura” (shark) and “Baya” (crocodile).

What an interesting story about the legend of Surabaya city. As usual, there will be #EngQuiz after the #folktale.


Answer the questions based on the story above.

  1. “The statue depicts the fight between a shark and a crocodile.” What does “depict” mean? What is the part of speech?
    • I hope you still remember “part of speech”. Part of speech = jenis kata. Example: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.
  2. “.. he was starving.” What does “starving” mean? What part of speech is it?
  3. “The shark got so furious.” What does “furious” mean? What part of speech is it?
  4. “.. the crocodile could avoid the attack.” What does “avoid” mean? What is the part of speech?
  5. “The shark and the crocodile were equally strong.” What does “equally” mean? What part of speech is it?
  6. “Because it was so intense ..”. What does “intense” mean? What part of speech is it?
  7. Last question.. What can you learn from this #folktale?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Monday, May 28, 2012

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#Folktale and #EngQuiz: “The Hedgehog River (Sungai Landak)”

“Sungai Landak” or the Hedgehog River is a river in West Kalimantan. Apparently there is an interesting story behind its name…

The hedgehog river

Once upon a time, there lived a farmer and his wife. They did not have any children. They were old and poor, but happy. They never complained. The neighbors loved them very much. They were very helpful. They liked to help others.

One day the wife told her husband about her dream.

“It was so strange. I was standing in our pond and I saw something shining. I was curious, so I searched for it. I found a small statue! The statue had a shape of a hedgehog. And it could talk!” said the wife.

“The statue said we can get anything from him. We just have to touch his head and mention what we want. He will give it to us. The object will flow from his mouth like water. It will never stop until we touch his head again and say stop,” she continued.

The farmer kept on thinking about his wife’s dream. He planned for the search in his pond and finally did it.

All of sudden, he saw something shining and immediately grabbed it. Yes, it was a hedgehog statue!

“Let’s try it!” he screamed. He asked what the wife wanted.

She said shyly, “Jewelries?”

The farmer touched the statue’s head and said, “Jewelries!”

Amazingly, jewelries were flowing from the statue’s mouth.

They became happy and very rich! They then lived in a big house. They shared their money with their neighbors. Sadly, not all of them were happy.

There was a neighbor who got very jealous. He really wanted to know how the farmer became very rich.

The jealous neighbor secretly went to the farmer’s house. He saw how the statue gave them what they wanted.

“Now I know the secret. I will steal their statue and be richer than them!” the neighbor said to himself.

It was late. The farmer and his wife were asleep. The neighbor slowly went inside the house, took the statue, brought it home.

When the neighbor wanted to try the statue he was thirsty and wanted to drink. He touched the statue’s head and said, “Water!”

The water soon flowed. When he thought it was enough for him to drink, he wanted the statue to stop flowing the water.

He said, “Stop!” But water kept on flowing from the statue’s mouth. He repeated, “Stop!” However, the water did not stop.

Apparently, he forgot to touch the statue’s head. Water kept on flowing and slowly it flooded his house. He got panicked. He asked for help.

People came to see what happened. They were so scared. Slowly the house was swallowed by the water. They did not help, but ran away.

From a distance they saw the level of the water got higher. Slowly it became a river.

Because the river was made of the water flowing from the hedgehog statue, people then named the river as Hedgehog River.


  1. “One day the wife told her husband about her dream, “..I was standing in our pond..”” What is a pond?
  2. [‘s] (apostrophe + “s”) can mean: is, has, or possessive. Mention 3 words in the story with [‘s] that mean possessive.
  3. “I was curious, so I searched for it.” What is curious?
  4. Find the word in the story that is similar to “envy.”
  5. As we have discussed in the first , in this kind of story we always use Past Tense. Find 10 past verbs in the story.
    • Alright fellas, questions 6-10 require your comprehension on the story, plus a little imagination and creativity.
  6. Why do you think the farmer and his wife got the hedgehog statue?
  7. Why did the neighbors love the farmer and his wife very much?
  8. Do you think the neighbor got what he deserved? Why?
  9. What is the moral of the story?
  10. If the statue came to your dream and became yours, what would you do?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, May 5, 2012

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