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Documentary Storytelling, 2nd Edition by Sheila Curran Bernard

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Story Basics

A story is the narrative, or telling, of an event or series of events, crafted in a way to interest the audience, whether they are readers, listeners, or viewers. At its most basic, a story has a beginning, middle, and end. It has compelling characters, rising tension, and conflict that reaches some sort of resolution. It engages the audience on an emotional and intellectual level, motivating viewers to want to know what happens next.

Strategies for good storytelling are not new. The Greek philosopher Aristotle first set out guidelines for what he called a “well-constructed plot” in 350 bce, and those basics have been applied to storytelling—on stage, on the page, and on screen—eversince. Expectations about how storytelling works ...

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