Uploaded by Sushma Veera

story structure

Story Structure: The Inverted Pyramid
As students of technical communication, we understand the importance of knowing our
audience. For posTComm, the annual newsletter of UWTC, we will be writing humaninterest stories for a diverse audience made up of alumni, students, faculty, perspective
students, and technical communicators from other universities. Therefore, we want to
learn techniques to capture a general audience’s attention and deliver our stories.
Journalism is a great field to learn these techniques. The Inverted Pyramid is the most
basic story form in human-interest (feature) stories that you read in newspapers or
magazines. This structure organizes the story from the most important information to
least important information. The advantage of this form is that the reader gets the crucial
information quickly. Here are some basic components of this type of this story structure:
First line at the top of the story that tells the reader what the story is all about.
Where the author’s name goes. (We are considering doing a “deck head” for the byline
this year. A deck head is a summary blurb of the story.)
Begin with the “lead”—the lead is well known in the field of journalism. A good lead
entices the reader to continue reading and gives the most important information about the
story in 1-2 sentences.
To find the lead, first find the story that you want to tell your readers. In other words,
what is the focus?
There are many different ways to begin leads when writing human-interest stories. Here
are some examples:
Descriptive—a description of a person, place, or event
Focus-on-the-person—tell a story about a person (anecdotal approach) or show a person
in action
Narrative—tell a story by thought dramatic action or reconstruct events so the reader
feels like they are witnessing a scene
Build-on-a-quote—is there a great quote, build your lead around that quote
It is good to use story-telling techniques when writing to capture our reader’s interest.
However, keep in mind that posTComm is a magazine/newsletter format. Readers may
get frustrated or lose interest if they can’t find the focus of the story after the first few
Body paragraph:
The next few paragraphs follow provide quotes and details that back up your lead.
Good quotes can back up your lead and substantiate the information in your story.
Common ways to end stories are future actions, statements, or quotes.