Storygridding 4,000 words of Big Idea Nonfiction
For fun, over at www.storygrid.com a while back, I storygridded Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal article from the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker. I tracked the narrative altitude in the work that I described in my post from February 2, 2018.
The vertical axis moves from the “street” level perspective at the lowest elevation through the “city” vantage point up to the “national” level and then all the way to the highest “universal” level. Four specific lenses that he uses to progressively build dramatic tension.
The horizontal axis takes us through the piece word by word, beat by beat, and subject by subject.
To see how Gladwell tackled so many academic disciplines (including personal history) as he moved his narrative camera shows just how much craft goes into a single article.
I recommend reading the piece with this graph in front of you to observe the professional writer performing the literary equivalent of Red Gerard’s final run at the Olympics.