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Narrative Structure

This course is an immersive five weeks in the art of crafting a story for different media. The course gives you a strong foundational approach to storytelling, especially intensively reported pieces.

We will deconstruct, analyze, tear-apart and re-shape stories in an effort to understand how good stories come to be. Each week we will focus on a different medium, from long-form magazine writing, to documentary film, to websites, to radio, to tablets, to advertising messages and more, and identify the core components of storytelling and how that medium uses them well (think characters, leads, arc, plot, audio, etc.). We will look at what all stories have in common and as well as how mediums differ; we will look at core tenets and when to break the rules.

By the end of the five weeks, you should have a strong understanding of how to take a large body of reporting, organize it and then create meaningful, gripping narratives, across mediums. Guest speakers may include NPR reporters, documentary filmmakers, Discovery Channel producers, digital editors, advertising creative, and long-form writers.

Assignments range from pure story analysis to editing and re-imagining stories across mediums, possible work-shopping of stories students have created in other classes and possible story proposal writing.