Week 4 Blog Post: Diagrammatic Storytelling

Hello everyone,

This week’s story titled Great Rock n’Roll Pauses utilized a digital slideshow to tell a touching story. This slideshow wasn’t simply text in boxes formatted like a regular book. Instead, each slide conveyed emotion and ideas through design elements and positioning of text and shapes. This story is one I’ll be recommending to those I know would appreciate it’s creation.

We are introduced to a table of contents if you will depicting 4 distinct acts of the story. Next, we are introduced to the characters of the story including our main, Alison Blake. The story contains a handful of conflicts that are at first hard to distinguish which one is the main conflict of the plot. Alison being annoyed with her mother, Sasha, at just about everything she does, indicated by the “annoying habit #number” she puts in the slides, is indicative of one conflict. Drew Blake, or Dad, and his drinking problem that’s attributed to past trauma and his current work life is yet another conflict. Even Sasha refusing to talk about her previous life experiences with Alison is another smaller conflict. However, it appears that the main conflict comes from Drew and Lincoln’s (Alison’s older brother) communication barrier.

We see in the story that Drew has a hard time understanding the way Lincoln communicates his thoughts and feelings, in this case Lincoln is fascinated by the pauses in popular rock and roll music. In slide 16, we see that Alison has created a flow of text to describe the thought that Lincoln intends to communicate and what actually comes out in words. To further the idea that this is the main conflict of the story, it’s the only conflict that gets resolved at the end of the story. If we follow the classical pyramid structure of plot, the outburst that Drew has over Lincoln’s response represents the climax of the story, or where the conflict becomes clearly identified. Then, following the pyramid structure, the scene back at home where Drew asks Lincoln if he “hears” the pause of the outside world, we see that Drew finally understands how Lincoln’s mind works.

“Okay. I know.”

Considering the explanations of Diagrammatic Writing by Johanna Drucker, we can see where Alison Blake incorporated the use of special awareness to draw the attention of the reader. For my own story, I have a much better understanding of how to use a pages space for my benefit. I can really get creative when it comes to conveying my ideas, but not too much so that the reader is left confused or unsure of where to go next.

“The space of a page is finite” (Diagrammatic, pg. 11)

Through the proper utilization of the space of a page, I can experiment with size, shape, direction, color, order, and text style to generate pace, rhythm, and flow for the reader to grasp. I’m eager to see where these creative thoughts will take me in cultivating my story.

Thank you.


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