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Digital Storytelling: Writing Your Story

A guide for students, faculty, and staff.

Drafting Your Digital Story

Some argue that digital storytelling is an alternative means of expression for those who struggle to put pen to paper. In actuality, though, writing figures prominently in the planning of digital stories. Take, for example, scriptwriting, which entails not only writing but doing so concisely—a task as arduous as it is essential.

Digital stories typically range anywhere from two to five minutes, so brevity and economy of detail are of the utmost importance. One strategy is to draft your story on a 5”x 8” index card, front and back. This will force you to shoehorn your ideas into a length that makes sense for digital projects. 

Once you’ve completed a rough draft of your story, you need to read it carefully in hopes of identifying easily remediable grammar mistakes, lapses in continuity, or other errors that detract from your story. It is also advisable to have a couple people, ideally representatives of your intended audience, read your story aloud to you. Any words they stumble over or seem confused by likely need to revised.



Computer-based tools should be used to enhance thoughtfully crafted stories, not to compensate for poorly written ones.


Finding Your Angle

Watch as Emily Bailin responds to the commonplace question "Where are you from?" with a critical reflection about who she is in relationship to the sights, sounds, sayings, interchanges, music, and frustrations that characterized her New York upbringing. Emily has found what most digital storytellers hope for: an exciting, imagery-rich angle that will translate well on video.   


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