Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story

  • Saturday, April 23, 2016
  • 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • UC Berkeley School of Journalism, North Gate Hall (Library)
  • 10


  • (NCSWA members only - no guests)

    Registration deadline: April 8, 2016.
NOTE: Workshop date has been changed to Sat., April 23, 2016.

The structure of a story can make or break a narrative, determining whether your readers will stick with it — or whether they'll turn the page or click on the next link. The right structure lets all the parts of your story fall into place, making it easy for your readers to follow. The wrong structure confuses and slows them down.

But how can you choose? Stories can be chronological or jump around in time, and can be braided, circular, told in acts, and more.

In this workshop, you'll analyze the structure of narratives and discover the secrets of top writers. You'll also learn how to find your narrative thread and weave it into a compelling story. And you'll learn how to evaluate a variety of potential structures and choose the one that's the best fit for your story.

Whether you write long or short, every story can benefit from the solid foundation that a good structure brings. This workshop will show you how to make every story you tell as compelling as possible, keeping your readers engaged from beginning to end.


Rebecca Skloot has written for Discover, The New York Times Magazine and many other national publications; worked as a correspondent for WNYC’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW; is the former editor at Popular Science; and edited The Best American Science Writing 2011 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015. Her award-winning book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than four years, has been translated into 25 languages, and is now being made into a movie. This spring, Rebecca is teaching narrative and longform writing as a Writer in Residence at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. You can learn more about her here.

PREPARATION: Rebecca will send participants examples of a range of narrative structures to read before the workshop.

DATE: Saturday, April 23, 2016.

LOCATION: The workshop will be at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism Library, which is in North Gate Hall near the intersection of Hearst Ave. and Euclid Ave. It's a 0.8 mile walk from the Berkeley BART Station; pay parking is available in the Upper Hearst Parking Structure on Hearst Ave. near La Loma Ave; and free street parking with no time limit on the weekend is available several blocks north of campus.


9:30 am - 10:00 am: Registration

10:00 am – 1 pm: Workshop


Coffee, tea, fruit, and bagels during registration. Please bring your own water and lunch.

COST: $40

Note: To make this workshop accessible to as many of our members as possible, NCSWA is providing a generous subsidy that keeps the cost low.

REGISTRATION: Spots are limited, offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for registration is April 8, 2016, at midnight.

CONTACT: Robin Meadows, Professional Development Committee chair
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software