Put Information into Context

Your narration needs to move the story along, which means it should not only impart facts, but also make it clear how they are relevant to the story you're telling. The 390 people in the club now fought their way to an exit is interesting, but I have no way of knowing if that's a lot or a little. If the club is Madison Square

Garden, it's a very small crowd. In contrast, 390 people—nearly twice as many as the club could legally hold—fought their way to an exit tells you that laws were broken even before disaster occurred. The same is true for motivation. The mayor called a late-night meeting may not advance your story as well as Hoping to avoid the press, the mayor called a late-night meeting. Motivation must be fact checked, however. Never guess at what someone was thinking or feeling, unless your narration makes clear that it's speculation, as in She might have been concerned not to hear from him; perhaps that's why she got into her car that night.

If quantity is important to convey, offer it in terms that are comparative, rather than giving specific numbers. From head to tail, the dinosaur would have been half as long as a football field. Comparisons and context are also useful when discussing quantities from the past. It's common for filmmakers to imply that someone "only making $5 day" in 1905 was being exploited, without finding out what this amount meant at the time, what it might buy, and how it compared to other incomes at the time.

As you add this context, keep in mind that you're building toward story events. You need to remind the audience occasionally (not constantly) what's at stake, what information we know, where we're going. The board will stop hearing testimony at 9:30. At that point, their vote will decide the future of this regional school system. Offer gentle clues about the outcome as we move forward. He had gambled everything, and he had lost. As Ransom's troops trudged wearily north

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