Narrative sequencing informs meaning

Tags: Writing

The sequence of information in any story or narrative contributes to the overall meaning of the text. The impact of a fact or an insight can be amplified or diminished depending on what comes before or after.

People can be strongly persuaded by sequencing. Evidence builds like a crescendo. If you lead with the most amazing fact, the rest will seem dull and boring by comparison. Meanwhile, contrast helps render the contours of an idea—but so can similarity, when applied judiciously.

But, keep in mind your purpose: if your goal is to inform rather than to persuade, your approach should change accordingly. A newspaper reporter updating a reader on the events of the day shouldn't write a mystery story.

  • Ensure the trunk of a narrative is more substantial than the branchesEnsure the trunk of a narrative is more substantial than the branches
    Tags: [[Writing]]

    When writing, ensure that the core theme of an idea isn't overshadowed by subordinate notions, qualifiers, or caveats. If the "branches" outweigh the trunk, the theme will be los...
    - Emphasize what is important in the story


Flaherty 2010