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Week 4 - Workshopping a Narrative Structure

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:53

This week we continued to delve into the world of narrative structure, which formally is the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to an audience.  For our purposes - narrative structure is all the decisions that you make about how to convey your information to your particular audience based on your particular goals.  This is very similar to what we did with our elevator pitch workshop - except we're applying it to the written word and using a pre-determined structure as our framework.  We did this while looking at a simple structure that involves a werewolf, a baby, and a silver bullet - a simplified version of the classic Hero's Journey in which a hero faces some obstacle (the werewolf) and overcomes it using some strategy (the silver bullet) because otherwise something the audience cares about will be lost (the baby).  We applied this structure to either our own research or to an article that someone else wrote.  We discussed how this structure fits into what Tim Miller was telling us last week, and went over some strategies to help us avoid the trap of overmothering our audience (showing vs telling).  It's important to keep in mind that any given story, especially scientific ones, could have a variety of heros, obstacles, strategies, characters, and stakes!  Finding the right version of the story to tell for your given audience/goal can be extremely difficult - that's why we practice!  But, giving them a familiar narrative will help any story resonate with any audience, because these are unifying themes of human society.  Our job is to tap into that cultural history to become more effective scientists and communicators!  (No big deal, right?)

There will be NO CLASS next week (2/19) in observance of President's Day.

In two weeks you will have to give a 3MT style presentation.  You are allowed only a single slide, with absolutely no animations or motion or sound.  Timing will be strictly enforced, so it's a good idea to practice!  Please send me your slide by Friday (2/23) night at the latest. 

Enjoy your break and see you in two weeks!