My Life: Shaped & Retold

Personal stories can be very strong because you have lived through the experience and recount that experience from the heart. Yet, how can you transform mere biographical/anecdotal accounts and cringing naval-gazing material into thought-provoking and touching tales that will fascinate your chosen listeners? In My Life: Shaped & Retold, you will gain practical tips on how to create tellable tales out of significant events from your life.

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

  • Participants who are able to communicate fluently in English are welcome.
  • Please bring an object or a picture of an object related to the personal story that you wish to work on during the workshop.
  • Please have in hand paper and pen/pencil for some writing exercises.

For Organisers

  • Please make available a fair-sized room that can easily accommodate all the workshop participants and the facilitator (seated in a circular formation). Please make sure that any other tables and chairs are stored against the wall or outside the room so that the participants have space to move freely about the space when they do the various exercises.
  • Please provide a large whiteboard and pens as well as access to computer/computer projection to show PowerPoint slides.
  • Please provide pen and paper, in case the participants require these items.
  • Please make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop. The handouts are to be given to the participants at the end of the workshop.


Participants' Feedback


What aspects of this workshop benefitted you most?

"The 3 times feedback is given — rigt at the start, and then after the 2 tellings. The giving of feedback is great too — learning how to pick what is most essential/needed in someone else's story."

Tan Joo Hymn

"The speed storytelling section. The wonderful feedback from other participants. Learning to spice up the story. Formal structure of a story. Verena Tay is a wonderful storyteller & facilitator."

John Li

"The varieties introduced. Management of time. Feedback given instantly.
A good way stories are shared. Very enriching."


"The structure & process of personal storytelling. Mechanism of 'round robins' and incremental timings.
Had a great time. Thanks."

Charles Quah

"The structure!! Thank you so much... It gives so much focus in what I wish to deliver."

Jumaini Bte Ariff

"Got me started in getting my uncrafted story out. Great sharing time."

Kiran Shah

"New perspectives — always thought that personal stories had to stick to the facts. But now I know. Am aware of so many new aspects and angles that the story can take. The feedback given by other participants was extremely useful.
Great fun & I really enjoyed it! it will add so much to my current storytelling."

Nandini Nagpal

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.