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: Headline: First line at the top of the story that tells the reader what the story is all about. Byline: 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.) Beginning: 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 paragraphs. Body paragraph: The next few paragraphs follow provide quotes and details that back up your lead. Quotes: Good quotes can back up your lead and substantiate the information in your story. Ending: Common ways to end stories are future actions, statements, or quotes.