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Scout Camp and the Telling of Stories

I had the valuable opportunity to attend scout camp last weekend with the two 11-year-old scouts in my troupe. We got there early Friday morning (like 8:30, soooooo early), set up camp, and then the scouts got to learn all the things from proper flag etiquette to first aid, to carving and to capture the flag.

Yes, capture the flag.

Whenever there was at least a half our of free time, that’s all the boys wanted to do (we were with a bunch of other groups, making a grand total of eleven 11-year olds). But while capture the flag was a hoot for the kids, my favorite part was the fireside program.

Campfire 300x283 Scout Camp and the Telling of StoriesOnce dusk set in, we all gathered around the roaring campfire. One of the men in charge of the camp led us in some fun camp songs which I’d totally sing for you, but alas, it doesn’t translate so well via blog post. You’ll have to survive without.

The boys also prepared skits and songs of their own, and everyone was having a jolly good time (except one of my boys who started puking shortly after the program started. He went to bed early, poor sap.). The main leader told some fun poems, but then calmed things down a bit by sharing some more serious stories.

Before the program, he explained how campfire programs normally work. They start off fun and jovial, but as the night progresses, things get more serious. Not like talking about death kind of serious, but the topics aren’t so raucous and uproarious. During our program, the progression from laughing hard to sitting listening to old tales with important morals was gradual, yet natural.

I found it intriguing as I felt the mood change. It wasn’t a bad change, just different. There is always place for stories, and in writing, that’s exactly what it is. Butter the best effect, there’s an order that must be followed. Now, whether that’s going from laughing to subdued depends on the kind of story you’re writing. However, there should be some sort of change in emotion within that story. Otherwise it can get bland and old.

Listening to the camp stories, songs, and ditties turned just another night out under the stars into one with more meaning. Bringing out emotions in your readers will do more for your book or story than just forcing the plot along. Plot is good, but emotions are the driving force behind it.

Just something I thought about.

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