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Improv Top Tips: Word-at-a-Time Story

Top tips for learning and teaching Keith Johnstone’s Word-at-a-Time Story exercise


  • Interact with someone or something: A penguin, the king, your boss!
  • Say ‘suddenly’ if you get stuck; it will make action happen.
  • Practice the game by killing a monster asap. Then make friends with the monster. Then rescue the monster. Gradually learn good and bad storytelling habits – like killing the thing you are interacting with, whilst fun, is the end of a routine.
  •  Keep eye contact with your partner.
  • You can tell the moral of the story to close it nicely, if you choose, sometimes.
  • Be obvious (what’s obvious to you) not clever or ‘funny’: Lovesick ladybird – find it a partner! Door in front of you – open it! Sausage – eat it!

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