Story as Bloodsport
Battling to Craft Narrative
By Melissa Lion
What Narrative Does
• Creates connection
• Adds humanity
• Nurtures an engaged audience
Where Narrative Works
Twitter: Narrative is the sum of our
Blogs: Daily posts must have a
narrative arc. The archive tells the
Social Networking Sites: Narrative tells
the story of your characters.
Narrative is Entertainment
Entertainment is It’s a chance, a
what people seek delight.
in the day, stuck in
their cubicles I’m feeling lucky,
staring at their right?
It’s what they look
for late in the night. voice.
Entertainment for Fancy People
“The original sense of the word entertainment is a lovely one of
mutual support through intertwining, like a pair of trees grown
together, each sustaining and bearing up the other. It suggests
a kind of midair transfer of strength, contact across a void, like
the tangling of cable and steel between two lonely
bridgeheads. I can't think of a better approximation of the
relation between reader and writer. Derived senses of fruitful
exchange, of reciprocal sustenance, of welcome offered, of
grasp and interrelationship, of a slender span of bilateral
attention along which things are given and received, still
animate the word in its verb form: we entertain visitors, guests,
ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges.” -- Pulitzer
Prize Winner, Michael Chabon
Five Elements of Narrative
• Point of View
• Dialog and Exposition
Sense of place
Fine details create
People love pictures:
A Thought on Shiny
• Shiny things are links, polls, pictures,
• Anything someone can do something to.
• Shiny things make your pages pretty, but
be sure to change them often. They lose
their luster after a day or so.
“Know a person by his Add people who
reflect you because
when others add
Your cast of characters
are your followers, you, it’s your
your commentors, the friends at whom
people you befriend. they’re looking.
Point of View
• Narrator as a character
• Who’s telling this story?
• About me page
• Picture: Shiny!
• It’s the role we play on the internet
Dialog and Exposition
• Exposition is another word for
• Dialog is the conversation we have with
our characters in comments, @replies,
writing on someone’s wall.
• Shout-outs, blog rolls, links
• Balance the exposition with dialog to
• Everyone likes to read about themselves,
even your readers.
Plot is Conflict
• The reader says, Conflict creates
“What’s next?” vulnerability and
• The narrator says, humanity.