In Chapter 3 of Harrower’s “Inside Reporting,” I really enjoyed the article on story structure. The book breaks it down by “The Inverted Pyramid,” “The Martini Glass,” and “The Kabob.”
The Inverted Period is the most used form of story structure. It’s really best for news briefs, stories about breaking news events. Basically, you start with with the most important facts first and move to the less important as you go down. It summarizes the key facts in a concise lead. Then, you organize the story as logically as possible by arranging the paragraphs in descending order of importance.
The Martini Glass was very interesting to me. It’s also known as the Hourglass story structure. You start with the lead, followed by key facts in the Inverted Pyramid form, a chronology of events and a kicker. These are best for crimes, disasters or other dramatic news stories where you want to include a chronology that tracks how events unfolded. I find it really interesting because of the chronological narrative that it involves. I never knew before reading this chapter that a story structure like this existed.
The Kabob story structure is also known as “The Wall Street Journal” formula or the “Circle.” It starts with an anecdote, followed by a nut graf, the meat of the story and ends with another anecdote. It’s best for stories on trends or events where you want to show how actual people are affected or involved. You basically think about it as arranging meats and veggies on a shish kabob skewer.
Reading this one section seriously helped me put the whole idea of story structures into perspective. There is always a formula to writing, and these are the major ways to write an interesting piece for the general public.