September 25, 2008, 3:48 pm

The Wire Meets 43F

By Tim Roy

One of my all-time favorite television series is “The Wire” and one of my all-time favorite blogs is Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders.  Imagine my joy at finding that Merlin has written an extensive posting on “The Wire” as a close-to-perfect example of how a story arc should be constructed.

Here at Dynamic Diagrams, we spend a lot of time talking with our clients about visual story-telling.  Part of this involves developing a narrative arc that allows an audience to connect to the story being told. Cognitive issues come into play here — establishing tension and then release, as well as providing the necessary “rests” so as not to create information overload.

Merlin writes: “…you very much do have the power to design the arcs you make, starting today. And even if you haven’t figured out how your final episode ends, consider how the pieces you want to lay down might fit together. And how the string that you gather might crack a case you hadn’t expected.”

If your own work is missing a narrative arc, take a look at The Wire: Writing Into Your Arc.

To quote Omar: “I’ll do what I can to help y’all. But, the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple.”

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Filed under: Information Design, Visual Explanation

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