Storytelling Structure and An Unlikely Pair

Storytelling Structure and An Unlikely Pair

Upon reflecting on today’s workshops and activities, the idea of ‘structure’ stood out. I found it interesting that speaker, Tim Wendel, suggested that when writing a narrative, the second most interesting thing should occur first in the story followed by content and then save the best for the end, a.k.a. the ‘spike.’ Since I am a visual learner, I found his exercise of ‘reading’ and structuring narratives for photographs by Ansel Adams of Japanese internments camps most helpful. This particular exercise gave a new perspective to looking at the stories conveyed through photographs. Also, I thought it went hand-in-hand nicely with Judy’s presentation as she discussed visual literacy within the overall focus of object-based learning.

Jumping ahead to the afternoon, I found the exercises in the morning helped with the activity in the National Portrait Gallery. As I talked with my partner, Julia, about our portraits, it helped to think of how to structure our story; it gave us a place to start. As we discussed our characters, the details started to fill in as we developed our outline. I recalled the way Tim Wendel approached the photos and tried to think about the flow of our story. I will admit that thinking of the spike was difficult but very important to the development of the process. One needs to address how the story will end. Also, I failed to think about how I wanted my audience to feel at the end of the story which was one of Wendel’s tenements to storytelling. I do wonder how the story might have changed and/or if it would have improved. I hope to apply this to the final project. I think by the end Julia and I were both surprised how we developed a story about Alexander Calder and Katy Perry but using the tools from earlier made the activity more possible and a little less daunting. To commemorate the development of the story of muse/artist between Calder and Perry, I bought a postcard of the Katy Perry portrait. I think it’s a good reminder stories can come from an unlikely pairing.


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