Narrative momentum

Narrative momentum

As I was reading through an article on podcasting that Patrick shared with the team the other day, I got a lot of value out of an Ira Glass interview (posted below) where he shares his team’s process for designing media. I thought it would make a good topic to discuss this week, since you might be hearing some good stories from family and friends while sipping on eggnog around the yule log. You may notice a pattern such as Ira did.

The creator of the hugely successful This American Life podcast, Mr. Glass goes into candid detail of an epiphany he had while listening to a sermon. He realized the structures he’d been trying to develop to organize his narratives were actually ages-old human behaviors which come naturally to most anyone telling a great story.

Whether it be a ‘fishing’ story, or a ‘how I met my husband’ story. The events and action are all connected and lead to each other in a way that it moves the audience in a forward motion through the story. This is called narrative momentum. Laurel Cohn writes, “narrative momentum is that pull that keeps the reader wanting to continue on with the story.”

Ira also goes into some detail on how he and his staff will divide and separate the thoughts from the actions, helping them communicate with each other how to best piece the story together, a few actions then a thought then another action then a thought and so on.

“Wow! At this point, I’m thinking….”

The actions are the events in the story and the thoughts are the storyteller reflecting on either what they’d just heard or experienced. All of this was a great reminder of the necessary planning it takes to prepare content. But moreso, that sometimes it might be easiest to take a step back, organize the content we have with what our audience needs, trying our best to fill those gaps with our own thoughts and reflections on what we too are feeling from what is transpiring in the story.

Any of you with tips and links to articles you’ve found that help your content creation process please comment below or share with us on twitter. Happy Holidays!



Next week:

What to Expect from a Video Deliverable

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