Designing a Story

by janetkayfetz

“Organizing your ideas so that they express a clear and logical story is a design problem.” Architect and Bren School graduate student Ben White showed our Bren writing group how we can design a text by sketching out the parts of a story before we begin to compose — in much the same way that architects spend time on the design phase of a new building before construction.

Here you can see Ben in the design phase of a paper on the business and environmental strategies of a major American company. The goal is to transform the key parts of the discussion and all related details into concrete and ordered segments. You can add things, delete things, move things around, make the connections that work for your explicit purposes.

Our design sketch can be used as a blueprint for the composing process. We can compose any one of the sections or a part of a section when we feel inspired, without having to start at the very beginning of the story and move through to the end. And it is a simple thing to make adjustments to our design if necessary as we learn more about our topic.

Thank you, Ben, for showing us this approach to organizing a text!