The Rosetta Stone of Story: Narrative, the Uber Genre

When I started out on my story quest I read every book I could find from every genre to try and sort out what was the strongest approach to crafting better stories.

Turns out my ultimate answer lay in a structural approach to narrative that’s essentially good old Aristotle super charged by 20th century formalism. (If you're into this reach out to me for resources). It’s the basis of what I teach today because this kind of seeing allows you to take apart any kind of conversation, from an email to a formal presentation to a script- so that you can look at the architecture of the thing.

We need to know how to deconstruct to reconstruct our communications strategically.

It blows my mind and fuels me as a teacher that the folks who need these skills, YOU, were never taught them systematically. (Know that I'm trying with everything in me to redress that wrong).

The big insight for me of structuralism comes from Roland Barthes—when he says, (paraphrasing here, and he's rolling in his grave, hearing my version, cursing me in French), that in the end it’s not that there are many different types of story, you know the 7 basic plots kind of thing, but there is one Uber Genre that encompasses all story. It’s Narrative itself.

Slow that down– just to grasp it.

It’s the idea that every story has the shape of beginning, middle, end.

Learn the distinct functions of beginnings, middles, and ends, and you’re never lost.

That's what the pros know.

For sure, understanding how to fit whatever conversation you’re having with your audience into a beginning, middle, and end is the 101 first step.

Now, comes the next question- are there basic Genres that help us to recognize the patterns inherent to the stories we’re telling?

Stay tuned as I share my ramblings about the genres of business story that make it easier for us to understand the larger conversations we're trying to have in both internal and external communications in our professional lives.