Worth a look: My kingdom for some structure

In recent years I’ve thought a lot about how do I add story structure into the conversations I do as podcast recordings. I’ve always imagined such structure would have to be designed (to some extent) up front, and then possibly post-produced via editing or narration after the recording.

After hearing/reading this, I’m now thinking I can use the “e” (but the image is a lowercase cursive “e”) structure, on the fly, too. :thinking:

A great little article…

Bradley Campbell says drawing story structure is like using Google Maps for directions. Structure offers a path, a way to figure out where to go… what to do with all the tape. To help him plan out his stories, Bradley thinks pictorially. He makes story structure drawings in his head. I asked him to make a few napkin drawings of how he sees structure. Indeed, that’s how he first learned about structure — in a bar on a napkin


And there’s also a podcast version of it. You can play the podcast from the above web page, or find the Sound School Podcast and search for the word “structure”.



I really struggle with this. Personally, I can’t picture in my head story arcs, structures, etc.
Sometimes I think maybe I’m slightly autistic or something because I just can’t see it.
I can’t tangibly link those pictures to those podcasts.

And then I have to ask the question, does it matter?
Does it help build an audience, as they know what to expect?
Or does it lead to the audience getting bored because every episode seems so familiar?
Perhaps it does both?

I know I haven’t listened to This American Life, Radiolab, or All Things Considered for years and I used to really love them.

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I’m wondering: Could we (for our own shows, for the story structure we wanted to create) imagine specific questions that signpost? So in a Podtalk episode…

  1. What’s an anecdote we could start with?
  2. Is there an insight there?
  3. …can I loop back in time to when they learned that/first saw that?
  4. Is that insight carrying forward (are there more things to to explore/learn now that it’s known/seen)?

…and if I managed to follow those signs (maybe I have them as notes on a paper as I’m doing the show recording), that would have the effect of creating a story structure.

…just noodling over ways to “actualize” the concept-of-story, into things I can do. First I [try to] do this, then I [try to] do this, etc.