Teaching Examples

Thinking about storytelling
April 27, 2006, 5:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Short and sweet: How to tell a great story, by Seth Godin. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. There are informational packages, and then, there are stories. Some stories are linear. Multimedia stories can be linear, but past a certain length, they must be nonlinear.

The question is, how do you construct a nonlinear story? More specifically, how do I teach students to approach the construction of a nonlinear story?

Roy Peter Clark of Poynter wrote:

To create vicarious experiences for readers or viewers, writers transform the famous five W’s and the H. “Who” becomes character. “What” becomes plot. “Where” becomes setting. “When” becomes chronology. “Why” becomes motive. And “How” becomes narrative.

I think that’s the start: Take the traditional elements of reporting and recast them. Then figure out which of those are the keys to the particular story. The characters are often keys. Maybe time (when) is very important in one story, but in another story, place (where) is more important. Photos can be used effectively to show characters and place. Graphics can show chronology. Audio and text in combination reveal plot and motive.

I know I’ll be writing more about this.

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