Enjoyed listening to you Steve. It’s become the holy grail as we all try to find ways of attracting and making audiences stick with our stories.

This from your article caught my attention “This method can create a purer form of story that may not default to the traditional models of inverted pyramid, or a defined beginning, middle and end”.

I’m not sure whether ‘purer’ is the term. The inverted pyramid etc. is a particular construct devised in news journalism to optimise the delivery of information deemed news worthy. News texts from the 1800s, still wrestling with form, were structured sans pyramid.

I appreciate you have not said otherwise, but I felt it important to mention to help distinguish from the process which in Russian formalism separates raw data (fabula) from constructed narrative (syuzhet).

Within this constructed space, depending on where you come from in the world, causality (particular semantic pairings) may still play a strong part in your life of stories, but there will be other models whose fragmentation into non-linear stories may frustrate because abstraction, or otherwise.

Fragmentation of events (fabula)is how we see the world, before the brain tries o make sense by constructing (syuzhet) narratives, and these narratives are cultural-centric and personal (auto).

In other words semantic associations too may differ. Italian Neorealism offers a story structure pertinent to that culture but which other cultures e.g. US may find obtuse. Proverbs, fables and poems may equally challenge autobiographical memory.

Also, we shouldn’t overlook the combinant role of the visual cortex with activities from say the amygdala and hippocampus which are the memory banks. Something may stimulate us, but how do we retain its data and recognise it so it becomes familiar the next time? There’s emerging info in mnemonics that helps here beyond autobiographical memory, which is often cited as a key component.

‘Treat storytelling as a mixture of art and science’. Thoroughly agree with you on this re: Michelangelo. Sadly, this dual approach is rarely entertained explicitly when studying journalism or docs, unless we count the kid on the block, data analysis.


Digital Interactive Storytelling LAB,
University of Westminster, London.

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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